Deeper, Larger, More Common: Cryptic Coral Species Podabacia Benefits from Reef Recovery
Annual Research & Review in Biology,
In 2000 a protected area of 20,000 ha was established in West Sumatra, Indonesia (MPA Pulau Pieh) and the partial reef recovery is well documented. During monitoring of destructed reefs, a new cryptic mushroom coral species, Podabacia kunzmanni, was detected. It is not common, with rather occasional occurrence and most specimens are small. During recent visits in 2018 and 2019, the authors detected numerous specimens, mainly at three locations within the MPA Pulau Pieh, mainly at Pulau Pandan. Most individuals were found in greater depth, down to 18 m, reaching diameters of up to 20 cm. With regard to size, depth distribution and abundance, three new records can be established for this species. There are two potential explanations for finding them mainly on dead reefs: either they are better survivors or they are better colonizers of dead coral substrata. The team is presently collecting more data on the distribution and the reasons behind the sudden rise in visibility.
- Coral reef
- mushroom coral
- cryptic species.
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