Staghorn coral can form dense groups called “thickets” in very shallow water. These branches create habitats for many other reef species, such as lobsters, parrot-fish, snapper shrimps and other reef fish. Corals have a single-celled algae called zooxanthellae ( figure 2-27 ) that live inside their tissues. Staghorn coral is one of the most important corals in the Caribbean. Corals are an ancient group having a simple, radially-symmetrical body with a single opening that serves as both a mouth and anus. Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) is considered to be one of the most important reef-building corals in the Caribbean. These provide important habitat for other reef animals, especially fish. Reef-building Staghorn Corals are among the fastest growing corals on the reef; when healthy their branches can grow up to 8 in a year! It, along with elkhorn coral and star corals (boulder, lobed, and mountainous) built Caribbean coral reefs over the last 5,000 years. Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) is known to be an important reef-building species of coral. This species is structurally complex with many large branches.

Like staghorn coral, elkhorn coral has been listed as federally threatened under the Endangered Species Act. What is the scientific name or taxonomic classification of the Elkhorn coral?. The coral structure resembles that of elk antlers. Over the last 10,000 years, Elkhorn coral has been one of the three essential Caribbean corals contributing to reef growth and development 2 . Phylum Cnidaria is further subdivided into three classes: the jellyfish (Class Scyphozoa); the hydrozoans (Class Hydrozoa); and the corals and sea anemones (Class Anthozoa). The scientific or taxonomic name would be Acropora palmata. Wiki User 2010-07-07 17:42:24. These symbiotic algae are crucial to the survival of corals, which provide them with oxygen and other nutrients. Coral decline in the Caribbean is marked by the loss of habitat-forming corals, such as elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata). They were once very abundant, but their population has declined by over 80% since the 1980’s, with no signs of recovery. Elkhorn coral recovery has been isolated and patchy, but recently a “re-sheeting” phenomenon, in which elkhorn tissue grows over standing dead coral skeletons, was observed along the reefs in the Mexican Yucatán peninsula. Colonies of elkhorn coral are relatively fast growing, with branch length increasing about 2 … How are clades useful in coral classification?

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