Alveopora japonica beds thriving under kelp
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KeywordsBenthic Community Coral Cover Coral Species Soft Coral Scleractinian Coral
Alveopora japonica Eguchi, 1968 (Scleractinia, Acroporidae) occurs in shallow benthic communities from Southern Taiwan to high latitude areas of Japan where it is usually rare and nested among algae and soft corals (Dai and Horng 2009). It is also a peculiar species among the scleractinians due to its association with Symbiodinium clades C, E, and F (Rodriguez-Lanetty et al. 2003; Jeong et al. 2012).
Ecklonia cava is usually the dominant benthic species around Jeju Island. Recently, traditional fisherwomen, ‘Haenyeo,’ as well as local divers, have reported orally a gradual decline in the population of this economically and ecologically important kelp to the benefit of A. japonica. Apart from being one of the first reports on high dominance of scleractinian coral species at this latitude, this observation might also indicate a persistent shift from kelp forests to coral dominance, and the potential loss of an economically important endemic taxa.
Authors thank Sung-Jin Hwang, Stéphane De Palmas, Lauriane Ribas Deulofeu, Shashank Keshavmurthy for their field assistance. This work was support by grants NSC-NRF (no. 100-2923-B-001-005-MY2) and KIOST (no. F643100). VD is the recipient of a Post-Doctoral fellowship from NSC.
- Dai CF, Horng S (2009) Scleractinia fauna of Taiwan. I. The complex group. National Taiwan University, p 172Google Scholar