This species is structurally complex with many large branches, hence its nickname of "Our Rainforest of the Ocean" These branches create habitats for many other reef species, such as lobsters, parrot-fish, and snapper shrimps. Staghorn Coral. It has asexual reproduction, alternation of generations, and sexual reproduction. The Elkhorn coral, also known as Acropora palmata, is an important coral of the Caribbean coral reef. Once the most abundant and important reef-building corals in Florida and the Caribbean, elkhorn corals have declined by more than 90 percent in many areas, mainly as a result of disease and “bleaching. The warming of ocean temperatures due to climate change has affected the coral reefs around the world. Elkhorn coral colonies can also reproduce through fragmentation. Elkhorn coral is considered to be one of the most important reef-building corals in the Caribbean. Thus, destruction, modification, and curtailment of elkhorn and staghorn corals' habitat has been identified as contributing to these species' threatened status. The following report will take you under the sea to explore the fascinating world of coral reefs, and the biogeography of the most important reef building coral species, Elkhorn coral. Corals form remarkably diverse communities called coral reefs, which provide the reef complexity and habitat for many fish species, and thus help productivity of reef ecosystems. Colonies of Elkhorn Coral grow through a process known as fragmentation: when a branch breaks off, it attaches itself to the substrate and forms a new colony. Elkhorn coral at five test areas located in the U.S. Virgin Islands at various time scales. Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals Critical Habitat * Status Completed : Creation Date Revision Date • Publication Date 2008-11-26 * » Abstract These data represent the critical habitat for elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) as designated by 73 FR 72210, November 26, 2008, Rules and Regulations. In our Spotting of the Day you can learn about the Critically Endangered Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), a once abundant coral species which has seen a dramatic population reduction exceeding 80% over the past 30 years". Man with hands on his hips . Staghorn coral can form dense groups called 'thickets' in very shallow water, providing important habitat for other reef animals, especially fish. Habitat & Distribution . While elkhorn coral seems unaffected by the current, major outbreak of stony coral tissue loss disease, it’s in serious trouble nonetheless and has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 2006. Both cold-water sponge and coral communities are known to create hotspots for marine biodiversity (Jonsson et al., 2004; Schöttner et al., 2013; Howell et al., 2016) by providing structurally complex habitats for associated epifaunal and infaunal communities (Ribeiro et al., 2003; Knudby et al., 2013) and nursery grounds for commercial fish stocks (Baillon et al., 2012; Miller et al., 2012). Through this process, and as a result of its fairly rapid growth rate, the elkhorn coral was historically responsible for building large areas of Caribbean Reefs. They are found in fore reefs in areas that are shallow (0-5m) to intermediate in depth (5-2m5) (Aronson, 2007), in areas with strong wave action. Both elkhorn and staghorn corals underwent precipitous declines in abundance throughout their ranges in the 1970s and 1980s. Coral decline in the Caribbean is marked by the loss of habitat-forming corals, such as elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata). Potential habitat for Elkhorn coral was defined as the areas where occurrence of the species is possible, namely areas of hard substratum to 15m depth. ” Threats related to Global Warming. Details. Their numbers decreased rapidly beginning in the 1970s due to both environmental and man-made factors. Elkhorn coral are considered key to the structural integrity and ecology of the coral reefs surrounding many landmasses within the Caribbean. As their name suggests, elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) grow in a branching pattern similar to the horns of an elk.The branches of elkhorn and related staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) provide critical habitat for other reef organisms in the Caribbean Sea. Acropora cervicornis . Facebook: These branches create habitats for many other reef species such as lobsters, parrot-fish, snapper shrimps and other reef fish. Many reef fish found in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico use the elkhorn coral as a habitat. Bathymetric and benthic habitat (NOAA 2001) layers were used to select 815. areas between 1 and 15m of hard-bottom habitat. Acropora palmata (Elkhorn Coral) is a species of cnidarians in the family staghorn corals. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes. Elkhorn coral | 11 U.S. species endangered by climate change | MNN - Mother Nature Network Elkhorn coral is an important reef building coral that was once abundant throughout the Caribbean and Florida. The coral … Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. Paige Gill, FKNMS. Federal Protection of Coral Habitat Draws Lawsuit Threat Environment News Service .
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