Tubastraea Micranthus-A New Invasive Coral In The Western Atlantic And Its Threat Potential | 18444
ISSN: 2155-9910

Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development
Open Access

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Tubastraea micranthus-A new invasive coral in the Western Atlantic and its threat potential

2nd International Conference on Oceanography

Paul W Sammarco, Scott A Porter, Melissa Genazzio, James Sinclair and Shannon Hennessey

ScientificTracks Abstracts: J Marine Sci Res Dev

DOI: 10.4172/2155-9910.S1.006

Inter-oceanic species invasions can pose significant threats to local fauna and flora. Prior invasions by closely related species can be indicators of threat for the new species. Tubastraea coccinea is an Indo-Pacific coral that colonized the Caribbean in the 1940s and has greatly expanded its range, occurring in hundreds of thousands of colonies per site. Its congener Tubastraea micranthus recently invaded the Gulf of Mexico. It was originally found on 1/81 oil platforms SW of the Mississippi River and subsequent surveys via ROV have demonstrated its presence on 9 more to 134 m depth, at ≤15 colonies/m2. Densities of both species peaked at 28.4o lat., -90o long. Data suggest that platform MC-209 was the original colonization site for T. micranthus . Population growth in T. coccinea cover may have equilibrated in this region. The dominance of small T. micranthus colonies indicates recent settlement and growth. Density did not correlate strongly with colony size, suggesting that growth varied with environmental conditions on a site-specific basis. Depth distributions varied between sites in both species; Mississippi River discharge could have influenced this. It was assessed T. micranthus ? competitive abilities via ROV video surveys of interactions with local biota, and via laboratory experiments utilizing Tubastraea coccinea , Condylactis gigantea , and Epicystis crucifer . T. micranthus was found to be a formidable competitor against Caribbean fauna, using extracoelenteric digestion to kill its neighbors. It is possible that T. micranthus could spread throughout the tropical western Atlantic, like T. coccinea . Swift eradication may be an option.
Paul W Sammarco (PhD, Ecology & Evolution, Stony Brook University) is a Professor, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), Louisiana, USA. He has researched coral reef ecology for >40 years in the Caribbean and Great Barrier Reef, Australia. He has ~300 publications. His employment experiences include: Asst. Professor, Clarkson University; Senior Research Scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science; Director ? Envtl. Research, Resource Assessment Commission, Dept. Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia); Executive Director, LUMCON; Executive Director, Assn. Marine Laboratories Caribbean; Chairman, State Commission, South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center; Assoc. Editor, Marine Biology, Marine Ecology Progress Series, and Aquatic Biology .