Photograph by Tony Vargas

Acropora Florida

Generally known to be a hybrid species of coral which can be found in a variety of locations spanning across regions in the southern Atlantic and western Pacific Ocean, Acropora Florida has been spotted mainly in tropical climates, reaching significant depths in some areas.

Acropora Florida – Description and Properties

Commonly referred to as “branch coral”, this species of Acropora has been known to occur in shallow reef environments. It was found in many cases either on walls, reef tops or slopes reaching depths of anything between 3 and 30 meters.
While widespread and common to a large number of locations, the species is also known to be under threat due mainly to its low tolerance to disease and bleaching, as well as its slow ability to recover which has lead to pessimistic habitat loss and population reduction estimations in recent years.

A Widespread Species of Coral

Acropora Florida is a species that can easily be located in a lot of of different areas. These include the East China Sea and Japan, Southeast Asia, Cook Island and the entire oceanic region of the western Pacific. Its native countries also include India, Indonesia, French Polynesia, the Philipines, Sri Lanka or even South Africa and Madagascar.
Although all these locations would suggest the abundant presence of this type of coral in many areas mainly across the Indian and Pacific Ocean, there is very little information available about its population statistics. Nevertheless, reef losses throughout the range of the entire species were recorded across three generations, and while it isn’t fully seen as a threatened species, its susceptibility to various threats have caused experts to consider it “near threatened”.

Main Threats to Consider

Current estimations seem to point to the loss or significant degradation of more than 21% of the reefs associated with this type of coral. The most significant threats come mainly from the species’ inability to withstand bleaching, as well as various predators, diseases and the considerable climate changes of the past 25-30 years.
Localized threats have also been known to include human infrastructure development, pollution, chemical fishing, sedimentation and changes in the dynamics of various competing species such as pathogens, predators or parasites.
While its “near threatened” status may cause some to believe that the species is rather safe from disappearance, predicted factors and threats such as climate change, ocean acidification and reef degradation may play a major part in its development during the next 10 years. Many experts consider that Acropora Florida should closely be observed in that period.

Blane Perun

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