|Scientific Name:||Montipora flabellata|
|Species Authority:||Studer 1901|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||DeVantier, L., Hodgson, G., Huang, D., Johan, O., Licuanan, A., Obura, D., Sheppard, C., Syahrir, M. & Turak, E.|
|Reviewer(s):||Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J. (Global Marine Species Assessment)|
Although there has not been any recorded population reduction for this species and the bleaching events in 1996 and 2002 did not have a major effect, the chances of serious future declines due to more serious and frequent bleaching events are high. As the number of locations for this species (based on potential threat) is less than five, and that it is endemic to Hawaii, this species is listed as Vulnerable under D2 criterion.
|Range Description:||This species is endemic to Hawaii and is found on all of the Hawaiian Islands apart from in Johnston Atoll (Fenner pers. comm.).|
Native:United States (Hawaiian Is.)
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
This species is common in Hawaii (Fenner pers. comm.). There is no evidence of a population decline for this species (Aeby pers. comm.).
The age of first maturity of most reef building corals is typically three to eight years (Wallace 1999) and therefore we assume that average age of mature individuals is greater than eight years. Furthermore, based on average sizes and growth rates, we assume that average generation length is 10 years, unless otherwise stated. Total longevity is not known, but likely to be more than ten years. Therefore any population decline rates for the Red List assessment are measured over at least 30 years. Follow the link below for further details on generation length estimates.
|Habitat and Ecology:||This species occurs in shallow reef environments on reef flats and slopes. This species is found to at least 10 m.|
The bleaching of coral reefs, which has become increasingly frequent since the 1970s, is related to the ongoing rise in ocean in temperatures as a result of global climate change. Bleaching events, leading to coral mortality, are predicted to become more frequent and severe. Species in the genus Montipora are susceptible to bleaching, though this species has not been heavily impacted so far. Species in the genus tend to be quite fast growing and reproduce asexually by fragmentation, so if they can re-establish after mortality, they can recover fast.
Acanthaster planci, the crown-of-thorns starfish, has been observed preferentially preying upon members of this genus (Colgan 1987).Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) (Acanthaster planci) are found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Red Sea. These starfish are voracious predators of reef-building corals, with a preference for branching and tabular corals such as Acropora species. Populations of the crown-of-thorns starfish have greatly increased since the 1970s and have been known to wipe out large areas of coral reef habitat. Increased breakouts of COTS has become a major threat to some species, and have contributed to the overall decline and reef destruction in the Indo-Pacific region. The effects of such an outbreak include the reduction of abundance and surface cover of living coral, reduction of species diversity and composition, and overall reduction in habitat area.
The small range of this species renders it at increased risk of extinction to any future threats.
In general, the major threat to corals is global climate change, in particular, temperature extremes leading to bleaching and increased susceptibility to disease, increased severity of ENSO events and storms, and ocean acidification.
Coral disease has emerged as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide and a major cause of reef deterioration (Weil et al. 2006). The numbers of diseases and coral species affected, as well as the distribution of diseases have all increased dramatically within the last decade (Porter et al. 2001, Green and Bruckner 2000, Sutherland et al. 2004, Weil 2004). Coral disease epizootics have resulted in significant losses of coral cover and were implicated in the dramatic decline of acroporids in the Florida Keys (Aronson and Precht 2001, Porter et al. 2001, Patterson et al. 2002). In the Indo-Pacific, disease is also on the rise with disease outbreaks recently reported from the Great Barrier Reef (Willis et al. 2004), Marshall Islands (Jacobson 2006) and the northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Aeby 2006). Increased coral disease levels on the GBR were correlated with increased ocean temperatures (Willis et al. 2007) supporting the prediction that disease levels will be increasing with higher sea surface temperatures. Escalating anthropogenic stressors combined with the threats associated with global climate change of increases in coral disease, frequency and duration of coral bleaching and ocean acidification place coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific at high risk of collapse.
Localized threats to corals include fisheries, human development (industry, settlement, tourism, and transportation), changes in native species dynamics (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), invasive species (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), dynamite fishing, chemical fishing, pollution from agriculture and industry, domestic pollution, sedimentation, and human recreation and tourism activities.
The severity of these combined threats to the global population of each individual species is not known.
Research on the resistance of M. capitata to bleaching stress could also be extended to this species.
All corals are listed on CITES Appendix II. Parts of the species’ range fall within Marine Protected Areas.
Recommended measures for conserving this species include research in taxonomy, population, abundance and trends, ecology and habitat status, threats and resilience to threats, restoration action; identification, establishment and management of new protected areas; expansion of protected areas; recovery management; and disease, pathogen and parasite management. Artificial propagation and techniques such as cryo-preservation of gametes may become important for conserving coral biodiversity.
|Citation:||DeVantier, L., Hodgson, G., Huang, D., Johan, O., Licuanan, A., Obura, D., Sheppard, C., Syahrir, M. & Turak, E. 2008. Montipora flabellata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 December 2014.|
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