[Coral-List] Largest brain coral in Caribbean?

Pawlik, Joseph pawlikj at uncw.edu
Mon Jul 27 19:27:43 EDT 2015

Me again,

I forgot to mention to the coral-listers that the Tobago video includes a clip of what the locals say is the largest brain coral in the Caribbean (looks like Diploria strigosa; starts in the video at 12:05).  It appears healthy, with some past damage, but has sponges competing with it from one side.


I just posted a dive video from the NE side of Tobago, far SE Caribbean, that some may be interested in viewing.


Tobago reefs in this area have stretches of very healthy coral cover (massive species) with little disease, but evidence of regrowth after die-back. No Acropora corals were seen in this area.  Note the very high sponge cover, particularly of giant barrel sponges that grow in the form of large clams, perhaps because of the strong currents on these reefs.  One barrel sponge shown in the video is over 4 m long.
Fish abundance was very high, except for large groupers and snappers.  Sponge-eating fishes were particularly abundant (lots of angelfishes), and preferred prey sponges were heavily grazed.  Seaweed cover was low, except for patches of Halimeda.  Diadema urchins were very rare.  Invasive Tubastrea cup corals were common on shaded substrata.  Invasive lionfish were uncommon and mostly small.
Unlike reefs further West, there was no evidence of burrowing or boring sponges on limestone substrata (compare videos from Roatan and Belize at the same YouTube site).


Joseph R. Pawlik, Professor,
Dept. of Biology and Marine Biology
UNCW Center for Marine Science
5600 Marvin K Moss Lane
Wilmington, NC  28409
Office:(910)962-2377; Cell:(910)232-3579
Website: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/index.html
PDFs: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/pubs2.html

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