, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 183-196

Ecological and biological phenomena influencing coral-species composition on the reef tables at Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea)

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Abstract

Observations performed on coral colonies damaged during a very low tide on the shallow-water reef tables at Eilat (Red Sea), showed that most colonies are able to regenerate if parts of the living tissue remain intact on the skeletons. Brain-like corals, such asFavia favus andPlatygyra lamellina, were found to be more resistant to dessication than the delicate bush-like forms. It was also observed that the exposed skeletons of corals were immediately covered by a successive group of algae with a rich invertebrate epifauna among them. It is postulated that unpredicted extreme low water, occurring once in several years, could be the factor that prevents crowding on the reef tables, thus keeping high the level of coralspecies diversity.

Supported, in part, by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution, USA. SFC-70074.
This paper was presented at the Intecol Symposium held in Dubrovnik in March, 1972.
Communicated by O. Kinne, Hamburg