Literature request for Palythoa/scleractinian interaction

Bernard THOMASSIN thomassi at
Mon May 29 06:56:56 EDT 2000

Dear friends,
Competition between brown Palythoa crops and corals is very common in 
many reefs  submitted to a sort of eutrophication, with input of 
dissolved organic matter on reef flats (mostly outer reef fronts) 
bathed by laminar currents.
I saw several good examples in different regions :

- Today, after the huge anthropogenic impact on the barrier reef 
outer flat of Tuléar (south-west Malagasy) a  belt of Palythoa of 
several kilometers long and 30-50 m large overlaps the Acroporid 
upper outer slope community (emerging at spring low tides). Before 
between 1960-72, Michel PICHON et others we described this beautiful 
coral assemblage of the tops of the spurs of the outer front.

- In New Caledonia in some reefs in front and close to Nouméa town I 
observed those patches on reefs located at the middle of passage of 
close to nickel factory of Doniambo in a canal with hotter seawater.

- In Mauritius, close to the opening of a non-treated industrial and 
urban sewage I observed such patches on the outer barrier reef front 
(always at the level of the small brakers).

- I have also example in the Mururoa atoll (but its is secret)...

My opinion is that the brown Palythoa (P. capensis and P. liscia at 
Tulear)(see the Ch. HERBERTS's paper of 1972, in Marine Biology, 13 
(2) : 127-136) outbreak overlaying the corals in the outer reef front 
(quiet well exposed) where organic matter content in the water 
increases. They are associated with a step of the eutrophisation of 
these fronts.

Best regards.

thomassi at com.univ-mrs;fr

Centre d'Oceanologie de Marseille,
Station Marine d'Endoume,
rue de la Batterie des Lions,
13007 Marseille
tél. (33) 04 91 0416 17
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