Still Thriving

Some of the individual specimens, species, and whole sections of the reef that survived the multiples stresses of 2023 more or less unscathed. Lots more to be added.

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Leading edge of spur (in Seaward Slope Zone), on Feb 19, 2024.  At Vauxhall there are large areas of Porites-dominated spurs with close to 100% living coral extending to their edges at the Reef Front. They are the most actively growing areas of the reef, Major components viewable in this photo; Finger Coral (Porites porites) Pencil Coral (Madracis sp.) and one of the stinging corals – Millepora alcicornis – all thriving. Some Millepora complanata was present and was mostly dead, covered with ephiphytes, as in shallower areas, attributable  to coral bleaching in 2023.

Knobby Brain Coral, Pseudodiploria clivosa,  in the Reef Flat Zone at Vauxhall on Jan 15, 2024. Pseudodiploria clivosa is described as forming “flat mats or mounds up to 3 feet wide with an irregular knobbed surface” (D&J Greenberg, 1977). The flat mat form is very common at Vauxhall and on other reefs in the MPA and remained free of SCTLD in 2023 when immediately neighbouring species, e.g. Pseudodiploria strigosa were heavily infected. The moundy types are very prominent in the Reef Flat and D-P Zones at Vauxhall; rare today in the MPA outside of Vauxhall. Lewis (1960) described the species as ” the most successful coral occurring in this [Diploria-Palythoa] zone. It forms low encrustations 1 or 2 f t wide up to 6 f t in diameter.”, Lewis (1960) did NOT observe it in the Reef Flat Zone. Today at Vauxhall, it is prominent in both Zones. To its left in the photo above: Millepora complanata, dead and covered with ephiphytes, attributable to coral bleaching in 2023 – so evidently, P clivosa was resistant to both extreme warming and SCTLD in 2023.