[Coral-List] Is Tubastrea an introduced species?

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Fri Feb 22 18:55:04 EST 2008

The map of the "spread" of Tubastrea coccinea in the paper referred  
to below basically gives the dates that the first diving marine  
biologists around the Caribbean first noted Tubastrea. That is why it  
appears to "spread" outward from Jamaica. But since these are the  
first dates of observers at these sites, this cannot be taken as  
proof of the actual spread of Tubastrea at all. I'd  be curious to  
know why Steve Cairns thinks it is introduced. I'd pay a lot of  
weight to his arguments, but not to the map mentioned below.

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

> Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 16:59:47 -0500
> From: "Ian Enochs" <ienochs at rsmas.miami.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Live coral trade - Philippine exports
> To: "'Craig Lilyestrom'" <craig at caribe.net>
> Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID: <002b01c87342$be51d950$3af58bf0$@miami.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="us-ascii"
> Craig,
> With respect to evaluating the impact of invasive species of coral,  
> I think
> it is very interesting to take note of Tubastraea coccinea.  Many  
> people
> don't realize that the "orange cup coral" that they see covering  
> wrecks and
> deeper reefs is actually a Pacific species that is believed to have  
> been
> introduced into the Caribbean some time before 1943 (Cairns,  
> 2000).  For a
> map of its presumed dispersal see Fenner & Banks 2004.  While the  
> effect of
> Tubastraea on native species is poorly understood, Creed (2006) has  
> observed
> aggressive interaction with Mussismilia hispida in Brazil and my  
> preliminary
> laboratory observations, conducted with native Caribbean species,  
> suggest
> that Tubastraea is capable of causing tissue necrosis at limited  
> distances.
> Even though this species' introduction was most likely not due to the
> aquarium trade, I think it still serves as a relevant example of the
> capability of some coral species to invade nonnative waters.
> Cheers,
> Ian Enochs
> Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
> University of Miami
> 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy.
> Miami, FL 33149

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