(NOAA Fisheries, 2002; National Marine Fisheries Service, 2008), Elkhorn coral is found in shallow water, generally ranging from 1 to 5 meters deep. Accessed (NOAA Fisheries, 2002), Elkhorn coral is a sessile, colonial species. The polyps provide the algae protection, suitable habitat, and waste products that the algae use as nutrients In return, the zooxanthellae produce surplus sugars that the polyps use as food. Like jellyfish, the sea coral can inflict painful stings.Divers in tropical and subtropical waters should learn how to identify this organism and avoid it. Like most shallow-water corals, elkhorn corals have symbiotic algae living within their cells, providing the corals with excess energy that they make via photosynthesis (the use of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into food/energy). reproduction that is not sexual; that is, reproduction that does not include recombining the genotypes of two parents. Attached to substratum and moving little or not at all. humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. http://ow.ly/HoEaH, Cephalopods, Crustaceans, & Other Shellfish, Fishing pressure can surge before marine reserves are created, new study finds, Ted Danson and Katharine McPhee Headline Oceana's SeaChange Summer Party, Oceana Celebrates Belize's Removal from UNESCO's Sites in Danger List, Fishery council safeguards 16,000 square miles off California, More than 362,000 Square Miles of Fragile Seafloor Habitats Protected from Destructive Bottom Trawling off U.S. Pacific Coast. Cool facts. As it is a keystone species and ecosystem engineer, its endangerment threatens many other coral reef species. Contributor Galleries The coral structure resembles that of elk antlers. Sign our petition to tell GrubHub to take shark fin off the menu now – before the ocean’s most iconic predators disappear. What Do Corals Eat? at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/species/acropora_factsheet.pdf. Elkhorn coral is a prominent Caribbean reef-building coral, although current populations are still struggling to recover from white band disease or outbreak. Few larvae actually survive. The polyps live only on the reef surface. These structures can be over 2 (> 6 ft.) meters high and 13 meters (43 ft) wide and are a dull, brownish-yellow. reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body. National Science Foundation Staghorn coral is one of the most important corals in the Caribbean. Synapomorphy of the Anthozoa, reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female. To do this, the coral uses fine hairs, called nematocysts, to reach out and sting prey before gathering it in. The coral larvae live in the plankton for 3 to 5 days until finding a suitable area to settle. Steve Grodsky (author), Rutgers University, Jin Jeon (author), Rutgers University, David Howe (editor, instructor), Rutgers University . mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water. These nutrients are their primary food source, but Staghorn Corals also prey on microscopic animals known as zooplankton. This sexual reproduction occurs once a year, usually in August or September on a full moon. Even recreational diving on reefs takes a toll: boat anchors break off coral heads, and corals die where divers kick or grab them. These predators include many species of damselfish (Pomacentridae), which suck and pluck the coral polyps out of the coral body. The polyps provide the algae protection, suitable habitat, and waste products that the algae use as nutrients In return, the zooxanthellae produce surplus sugars that the polyps use as food. Details. These provide important habitat for other reef animals, especially fish. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate. (National Marine Fisheries Service, 2008; NOAA Fisheries, 2002). NOAA Fisheries, 2002. Elkhorn coral colonies can also reproduce through fragmentation (asexually). Adey, W. 1975. We are restoring the world’s wild fish populations to serve as a sustainable source of protein for people. Reductions of 75-90% were observed in some areas such as the Florida keys in 1998 due to bleaching and hurricane damage. Coral bleaching is the loss of the algae that live in coral tissue. They can be cleaned using Dawn soap and water, or regular hydrogen peroxide. It occurs in back reef and fore reef environments from 0 to 30 m (0 to 98 ft) depth. Elkhorn coral structures are actually colonies of several genetically identical animals living together. Elkhorn coral produce hard antler-like structures composed of calcium carbonate. Staghorn coral nursery run by Mote Marine Laboratory, it is much harder to do this wive slow growing ‘massive’ corals. Like most shallow-water corals, elkhorn corals have symbiotic algae living within their cells, providing the corals with excess energy that they make via photosynthesis (the use of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into food/energy). and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). The term is used in the 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Endangered (E), Vulnerable (V), Rare (R), Indeterminate (I), or Insufficiently Known (K) and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), or Vulnerable (VU). We do not paint anything. Staghorn corals grow fast to shade out other corals and gain more space on the reef. Ecotourism in the Caribbean relies on healthy reefs, with not only healthy coral, but a healthy ecosystem full of interesting things to see such as fish and other marine animals. Staghorn and Elkhorn coral are harvested for building materials, souvenirs, jewelery, and for aquariums. Numerous species (including caribbean spiny lobsters, parrotfishes, tube blennies, and others) directly rely on elkhorn coral as their primary habitat. As their name suggests, elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) grow in a branching pattern similar to the horns of an elk.The branches of elkhorn and related staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) provide critical habitat for other reef organisms in the Caribbean Sea. National Marine Fisheries Service, 2008. "General Fact Sheet: Atlantic Acropora Corals" Coral larvae are either fertilized within the body of a polyp or in the water, through a process called spawning. animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature, fertilization takes place outside the female's body. Estimates are in the range of 90-95% reduction in abundance since 1980 in areas where loss has been quantified. Many corals are passive feeders on plankton. Like all stony corals, the elkhorn coral builds a skeleton of calcium carbonate – a compound that will become increasingly more rare as the ocean acidifies (a phenomenon caused by the ocean’s absorption of acidic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere). offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) December 05, 2007 Examples are cnidarians (Phylum Cnidaria, jellyfish, anemones, and corals). On a full moon in August or September, the polyps will release gametes; this is an indication of perception of light (length of day), temperature, and nightime light from the moon. During just a few days surrounding full moons in the fall, elkhorn corals release bundles of eggs and sperm that float to the surface, break apart, and mix. Most corals also get nutrition from microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) living within their tissue. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Each polyp secrets part of the mineral colony structure, made of calcium carbonate. the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. This species is structurally complex with many large branches. Branches of the coral can break off and attach to substrate. Elkhorn coral often establishes in heavy surf close to shore, where the preferential exposed reef crests create an optimal habitat. Do not ever use straight bleach on them as this will fade the colors and eat away the urethane making the coral unusable. Thus, a new colony is started. Elkhorn coral also builds many reefs that are researched extensively, such as those in the Florida keys and the Caribbean. However, fire corals are absent from the coral reefs of Hawaii (Borneman, 2011). The staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is a branching, stony coral with cylindrical branches ranging from a few centimetres to over two metres in length and height. Coral reefs are among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth. Fire coral also gains nutrients by capturing and digesting extremely small prey creatures. Hard corals—including such species as brain coral and elkhorn coral—create skeletons out of calcium carbonate (also known as limestone), a hard substance that eventually becomes rock. However, this does not always work out; the Caribbean version of the violet coral snail, the abbreviated coral snail (Coralliophila abbreviata), creates larger and larger denuded areas as it feeds on elkhorn corals, leading to significant tissue loss. The coral has native populations throughout this range, most notably in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Corals also eat by catching tiny floating animals called zooplankton. NPS photo. breeding is confined to a particular season. Reefs are crucial aspects of the economy – according to NOAA, reef tourism and recreation totals $9.6 billion dollars globally. The polyps feed at night and retract into the secreted coral body during the day. An aquatic habitat. Without careful management of the threats that elkhorn corals experience, one of the most important species of reef-building corals in the Caribbean could be lost. When a storm or some other disturbance breaks apart a colony, each piece is able to reattach to the reef surface and begin growing again. the area of shoreline influenced mainly by the tides, between the highest and lowest reaches of the tide. Elkhorn coral is a tropical species and inhabits waters with a temperature range of 66 tol 86 degrees F. This coral tolerates salinities within the normal range of 33 to 37 parts per thousand. It was formerly one of the most common corals on reefs throughout its range. Note on a closely related species: The elkhorn coral’s sister species, the Staghorn Coral (Acropora cervicornis) is similar in appearance, biology, and ecology and is another ecosystem engineer on Caribbean reefs. The polyps also exhibit a form of tactile response in that they react to touch and release venomous nematocytes. Being static, they wait for prey to come to them and then catch them using stinging cells, known as nematocysts, present on their tentacles.