[Coral-List] Largest Pocillopora meandrina colony is over 1 meter in diameter and non senescent.

Damien Beri beridl at g.cofc.edu
Thu Aug 26 22:40:11 UTC 2021

Aloha Coral List Members,

It is possible, unless otherwise stated, that the literature which
describes maximum sizes of Pocillopora meandrina needs to be revised. The
Coral Conservancy <http://thecoralconservancy.org>, a 501(c)(3), based in
Hawaii, trains and educates community members to participate in emergency
community-based coral restoration, has identified an urban reef located in
Honolulu Harbor containing a Pocillopora meandrina colony over 1 meter in
diameter. Video Here. <https://youtu.be/IRpE1CwdO3c> I can be a bit of a
coral nut as you will see :) No judgments!

It is also possible that this colony is not P. meandrina but another
similar species, however its morphology appears consistent with that of P.
meandrina and even if it was a similar species none but P. eydouxie are
known to reach such sizes. Regardless I have only seen P. eydouxi reach
sizes near that of this colony, but in the video there is a P. eydouxi
right next to the P. meandrina which is clearly different from the P.
meandrina morphologically. There are also many P. meandrina colonies
scattered around the massive P. meandrina which are "normal" sized and show
the clear size distinction.

Trained volunteers identified this coral in the harbor and reported it to
The Coral Conservancy. The fact that our non-profit provided training to
volunteers, who on their own identified such a unique coral further
highlights the need for community-based coral restoration education and
training, globally. Unfortunately, many local Hawaii scientists consider
community-based restoration to be "Naive," and have suggested that
community members would be unable to conduct basic transplantation
processes and we should not attempt to teach them. They are further proved
wrong each day.

Given this species is supposed to die on its own after reaching previously
known maximum size of (15-25 cm) (Fenner 2005), this could counter that

As you all have seen recently with the Coral Morphologics post, and recent
papers stating urban exposed reefs are more tolerant of disturbances than
isolated remote reefs, these corals require more detailed genetic analysis
than ever. Global CO2 production and human waste injections into oceans
most likely will not stop in time to prevent massive die offs and a large
transition period for our planet's reefs will take place. Transitional
reefs will contain recruits from corals such as this P. meandrina colony
identified which thrives in urban polluted waters.

This P. meandrina colony most likely has genetics which prevent senescence.
It also inhabits waters which reach temperatures in excess of 82 degrees
fahrenheit on a regular basis. Branch diameter and extension rates appear
consistent with counterparts, yet diameter is more than double previously
known sizes. Video of the colony can be viewed here

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