Even in the Red Sea, Xenia are taking over

Birdseye quadrat view of the portion of monitored coral reef.

According to the open access paper published in Coral Reefs:

Although some massive corals grew noticeably, colony growth in the few persisting branching corals was insubstantial. Overall, hermatypic coral cover declined by ~10 %, and ahermatypic cover (mostly Xeniidae) increased by ~15 %. These changes were accompanied by a conspicuous increase in sand area (~10 %) and substantial decrease in bare reef framework (~20 %), suggesting major structural habitat loss with implications for net reef accretion and associated biodiversity.

A 25% swing between stony and soft coral is rather significant.  Without reef-building stony corals, coral reefs slowly erode away, as was demonstrated by the 10% increase in sand area.

Follow Us!
Get the latest reef aquarium news in your email.