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Organ Pipe Coral Flourishes at Long Reef

New discovery

Dr Zoe Richards & Dr Monika Schlacher-Hoenlinger

One notable discovery at Long Reef was a fore-reef ramp on the western side of the reef (Site 56 – 13°95’70”S, 125°71’85”E) dominated by the Organ Pipe Coral of the genus Tubipora (family Tubiporidae) (see Figures 1 and 2). There are several nominal species of Tubipora based on the gross skeletons, and further investigations are necessary to confirm the species. Nevertheless, Tubipora is the only known hard, calcitic, reef-building alcyonarian (soft) coral. Its skeleton consists of calcite spicules fused into upright, parallel tubes connected by transverse platforms.

During the spring low tide of the 24 th October 2010, s ix 10 m long point intercepts were conducted in the shallow fore-reef ramp habitat zone to quantify the benthic coverage of this, yet unknown species of Tubipora. The mean coverage was 27.67% (+3.24 SE), thus verifying Tubipora as the dominant benthic organism in the zone. Turf algae (22% + 5.49 SE); sand/rubble (18% + 4.26SE); and coralline algae (9% + 2.5 SE) inhabited the majority of the remaining space. Another ten genera of hard corals were recorded on transects within this habitat, however their combined coverage was Figure 1 and 2. Tubipora sp. dominates a narrow band of fore-reef habitat on the western side of Long Reef, Eastern Kimberleys. Photos by Dr. Monika Schlacher-Hoenlinger. Image copyright of Queensland Museum

Benayahu, Y. & Loya, Y. 1977. Space partitioning by stony corals soft corals and benthic algae on the coral reefs of the northern Gulf of Eilat (Red Sea) Helgol

inder wiss. Meeresunters. 30, 362-382

Cvejic, J., Tambutte, S., Lotto, S., Mikov, M., Slacanin, I and Allemand, D. Determination of canthaxanthin in the red coral (Corallium rubrum) from Marseille by HPLC combined with UV and MS detection. Mar Biol 152:855-862.

Obura, D., Fenner, D., Hoeksema, B., Devantier, L. & Sheppard, C. 2008. Tubipora musica. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org.

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Marine Life of the Kimberley Region Western Australian Museum > Marine Life of the Kimberley Region > Discoveries > Organ Pipe Coral Flourishes at Long Reef Organ Pipe

Organ-pipe coral

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Organ-pipe coral, (genus Tubipora), any of a genus of marine animals of the class Anthozoa (phylum Cnidaria). The single known species, Tubipora musica, occurs on reefs in shallow waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans and is characterized by long, parallel upright polyps, or stalks, supported by a skeleton of rigid tubes of calcium carbonate. The tentacles of the polyps are sometimes green, and the skeleton is bright red or crimson. After the soft parts die, the skeleton remains as a brightly coloured mass of tubes that resemble organ pipes (hence the common name).

Organ-pipe coral, (genus Tubipora), any of a genus of marine animals of the class Anthozoa (phylum Cnidaria). The single known species, Tubipora musica, occurs on reefs in shallow waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans and is characterized by long, parallel upright polyps, or stalks, supported by ]]>