Coral Reefs

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 793–804 | Cite as

Population dynamics of the mushroom coral Heliofungia actiniformis in the Spermonde Archipelago, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

  • L. Knittweis
  • J. Jompa
  • C. Richter
  • M. Wolff


The fungiid Heliofungia actiniformis is one of the most popular coral species in the Indonesian aquarium trade, yet information on the biology of this species is limited. H. actiniformis growth rates, population size–frequency distributions and the seasonality of recruitment rates were measured at three replicate sites in the Spermonde Archipelago, South Sulawesi. Growth and population models were applied to estimate coral ages, mortality rates and the size of maximum yield. Growth decreased linearly with polyp size. High numbers of attached polyps budded from clusters of stalks attached to the reef, with each cluster originating from the settlement of a sexually produced larva. Neither the settlement of sexual recruits, nor their asexual budding, showed seasonality. The overall population structure reflected the high mortality rates of young, attached polyps (Z = 0.5–0.6 yr−1), and the much lower mortalities of free-living individuals (Z = 0.05–0.08 yr−1). There were no statistically significant differences in overall mortality rates and the age–frequency distributions of polyps aged 0–15 years between the sites. Differences in the abundance of large H. actiniformis polyps at the three replicate sites were correlated with percent cover of coral rubble. The application of the Beverton and Holt model revealed the highest biomass per H. actiniformis recruit was 12 cm, corresponding to a polyp age of 20 years.


Mushroom coral Population ecology Population yield Ornamental trade Indo-Pacific 



We would like to thank the divers Ade Yuliantri, Hijaz Jalil, Amrullah Saleh and Andi Maddusila for invaluable help with fieldwork on numerous occasions. A warm thank you also goes to the people of Barrang Lompo Island for their kindness, hospitality and patience. Daniel Pauly is thanked for kind advice on the practicalities of using the catch-curve analysis. Werner Wosniok gave valuable advice on statistical analyses, and input by three anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript. This study is part of the SPICE (Science for the Protection of Indonesian Coastal Ecosystems) Project, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; grant number 03F0390A).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Tropical Marine EcologyBremenGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Coral Reef ResearchMakassarIndonesia

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