, Volume 28, Issue 4, p 909
Date: 12 Jul 2009

High diversity and abundance of scleractinian corals growing on and near mangrove prop roots, St. John, US Virgin Islands

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A narrow zone of red mangroves fringes the shorelines of four small bays in Hurricane Hole, within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICRNM) on St. John. In two of these bays, Otter Creek and Water Creek, a particularly high abundance and diversity of corals are growing directly on or near the prop roots (Fig. 1a,b,c). To date, 28 coral species have been found: Stephanocoenia intersepta, Agaricia sp., Agariciaagaricites, Siderastrea siderea, S. radians, Porites porites, P. astreoides, P. furcata, P. divaricata, Favia fragum, Diploriastrigosa, D. labyrinthiformis, D. clivosa, Manicina areolata, Colpophyllia natans, C. amaranthus, Montastraeaannularis, M. faveolata, M. franksi, M. cavernosa, Oculina diffusa, Meandrina meandrites, Dendrogyra cylindrus, Scolymia cubensis, Mycetophyllia sp., Eusmilia fastigiata, Cladocora arbuscula, and Tubastrea coccinea. The size of many of the colonies, including some M. faveolata and C. natans colonies over 1 m across (Fig. 1b), indicate that