Distribution range and health status of the threaten staghorn coral
Acropora cervicornis at Los Roques National Park
Acropora cervicornis: A DEMISED CORAL SPECIES
, S.; Cavada
, F.; Agudo
, E.; Cappelletto
, J. and Cróquer
Laboratorio de Ecología Experimental, Universidad Simón Bolívar. Venezuela
Grupo de Investigación en Mecatrónica, Universidad Simón Bolívar. Venezuela
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
During the 80´s, populations of Acropora palmata and A. cer vicornis
were wiped out by a combination of factors
. Today, both species
are critically endangered (CR) according to the IUCN criteria
While many studies have addressed the status of Acropora palmata
from molecular to seascape scales
, A. cervicornis has received less
attention; both locally and regionally. In Los Roques, one of the
healthiest reef systems of the Caribbean, the status of this species is
surprisingly anecdotic and remains obscure.
This project aimed to conduct the first and most extensive census for
this species to establish a baseline for future conservation plans in
Los Roques National Park.
DESIGNING A CENSUS FOR Acropora cervicornis
Acropora cervicorni s has a constrained distribution range within the
archipelago, occurring in 30% of the surveyed sites.
Disaggregated, dispersed patches and isolated colonies were the dominant
Continuous stands which were common in the 70’s; were only found at two
White band disease was ubiquitous among Los Roques A. cervicornis
population, independently of the mortality category.
The majority of the surveyed localities (42%) presented abundant and
Broken stands surrounded by rubble which indicate recent or old mortality
of this species were common on the majority of surveyed sites.
Dead stands of A. cer vicornis were found in multiple locations suggesting a
reduction of the distribution range of the species at Los Roques.
OUR FINDINGS: Acropora cervicornis is at risk
Implications of our results
(1) Sites with more continuous formations overlaps with locations heavily used by tourism.
(2) White band disease stills represents a threat for Acropora cervicornis in Los Roques.
(3) Local conservation strategies are urgently needed, for deterioration of Acropora cervicornis population (s) is becoming
1 - Hughes, T. P. (1994). Catastrophes, Phase Shifts, and Large-Scale Degradation of a Caribbean Coral Reef. 1Science, 265(5178), 1547–1551.
2 - Aronson, R. B., Bruckner, A., Moore, J., Precht, W. F., & Weil, E. (2008). Acropora cervicornis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version
2014.3. Retrieved from www.iucnredlist.org
3 - Jackson, J. B. C., Donovan, M. K., Cramer, K. L., & Lam, W. (2014). Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs : 1970-2012. Global Coral Reef
Monitoring Network, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 306.
Common (51% – 75%)
Uncommon (26% – 50%)
Rare (0% – 25%)
This research was funded by the Zoological Society of London through the
2013-2015 EDGE of Existence Fellowship program.
To our excellent field team: Aldo, Fran, Esteban, Cappe and Jean
THE FACTS: Acropora cervicornis distribution
THE FACTS: Acropora cervicornis health status
evident at Los Roques.