Acropora spp. - Candidates for Endangered Species List

Bob Steneck Steneck at
Sat Feb 20 12:46:36 EST 1999

Dear Tom,

  It seems to me that the Acropora decline throughout the Caribbean may 
qualify that genus and all of its species to endangered status.  I have 
seen some recent declines in Porites and to a lesser extent Dichocoenia 
but some of the other species you have listed I do not think qualify.  
Most notably is Dendrogyra cylindricus.  While I know of no region or 
reef in the Caribbean where it has ever been abundant, it is remarkably 
common.  Most reefs have a little of that species and most areas I've 
worked throughout the Bahamas, eastern and western Caribbean seem to have 
healthy colonies.  I suspect you do not want a list of corals that happen 
to have always had low abundance.

  It will be relatively easy to query the Atlantic and Gulf Reefs Rapid 
Assessment data sets to see if higher than average mortality rates are 
showing up for the species you list below (see:  In April many of us will be 
assembling in Fort Lauderdale to present data on the condition of 
Caribbean reefs, perhaps you could get a consensus of opinions at that 
time (see: 

  Good luck in your efforts.

  Bob Steneck

>We have also examined several other western Atlantic coral species that might
>merit inclusion as Candidate species.  They were not included in the Federal
>Register Notice since the information available was incomplete.  They 
>Acropora prolifera
>Dendrogyra cylindricus - pillar coral
>Dichocoenia stokessi
>Oculina varicosa
>Other species, such as the Porites porites complex, P. astreoides, the
>Montastraea annularis complex, M. cavernosa, Diploria strigosa, D. 
>clivosa, and
>D. labyrinthiformis appear to have undergone some declines at certain 
>sites, but
>do not appear as threatened as the Acropora spp, at this time.

Robert S. Steneck, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine
Darling Marine Center
Walpole, ME 04573
207 - 563 - 3146 ext. 233
e-mail: Steneck at Maine.EDU

The School of Marine Sciences Web site:

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