2,274Grants to

1,458(Sub)Species

Corals (Anthozoans)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 11251786

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 11251786) - Corals - Awarded $20,000 on February 09, 2011

ZSL’s EDGE Coral Reefs project aims to secure the future of ten focal reef-building (order: Scleractinia) coral species and their habitat through a range of focused conservation actions on a species-specific basis. The project adopts a regional approach focusing on the Caribbean, the Coral Triangle region, and the west Indian Ocean.

 To achieve this aim the project’s objectives over the next three years are as follows:
  1. Build international capacity by identifying and training 10 young conservationists - EDGE Fellows - to establish marine conservation measures for the 10 focal coral species and their habitat, particularly the creation and implementation of marine protected areas.
  2. Generate high level public awareness of EDGE coral species and the main threats affecting them, to catalyse the conservation of coral reefs.

3.    Address the significant knowledge gaps of highly Evolutionarily Distinct corals to identify their threat status and enable effective conservation actions.

 

The top ten priority EDGE coral species were identified based on

 

their evolutionary distinctiveness and IUCN Red List threat status at a workshop comprising of international experts held at ZSL earlier this year.  Priority EDGE species in the Coral Triangle region are Mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis), Bubble coral (Physogyra lichensteini) and Elegance coral (Catalaphyllia jardineii).  These three species are all listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The mushroom coral is probably the most hospitable reef coral, with over 15 associated species, including a host-specific pipefish and at least five shrimp species. Bubble coral is a favoured food source for the ‘critically endangered’ Hawksbill turtles and the Elegance coral has been reported to act as a host for certain fish species. These three focal species will act as flagships for the local coral reef ecosystem, meaning that conservation actions implemented, such as marine protected areas (MPAs), will not only benefit them and their directly associated species, but the whole coral reef ecosystem. At present, there are no targeted conservation efforts at a species-level for any of these coral species.

 

 their evolutionary distinctiveness and IUCN Red List threat status at a workshop comprising of international experts held at ZSL earlier this year.  Priority EDGE species in the Coral Triangle region are Mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis), Bubble coral (Physogyra lichensteini) and Elegance coral (Catalaphyllia jardineii).  These three species are all listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The mushroom coral is probably the most hospitable reef coral, with over 15 associated species, including a host-specific pipefish and at least five shrimp species. Bubble coral is a favoured food source for the ‘critically endangered’ Hawksbill turtles and the Elegance coral has been reported to act as a host for certain fish species. These three focal species will act as flagships for the local coral reef ecosystem, meaning that conservation actions implemented, such as marine protected areas (MPAs), will not only benefit them and their directly associated species, but the whole coral reef ecosystem. At present, there are no targeted conservation efforts at a species-level for any of these coral species.  Coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystem and support between 1- 3 million species, most of which are found nowhere else in the ocean. Current worst case predictions indicate that tropical coral reefs will be functionally extinct within the next 30 -50 years, predominantly due to global climate change, but more optimistic predictions suggest that reef management can build back resilience. The Coral Triangle region (central Indo-Pacific) is particularly important due to its high diversity (approx 75% of all reef-building coral species and approx 3,000 fish species inhabit the region) and the high dependency on marine resources that support the livelihoods of over 126 million people in the region.  In addition to rising sea surface temperatures, increased storm frequency and ocean acidification, the Coral Triangle region is also being degraded by a combination of local threats including; unsustainable and destructive fishing methods, harvesting for the aquarium trade, poorly planned development, pollution, and a rapidly growing population. Increasing local coral reef management capacity by 2020 is a key recommendation of the Global Action Plan for Coral Reefs (proposed by GLOBE International), recently endorsed at the 2010 Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Conference of Parties in Nagoya. This project will help address the global need to increase local coral reef management in conjunction with implementing targeted conservation actions for EDGE species and their habitat. 

Funding from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund has enabled us to 1) implement the first EDGE regional training course in the Coral Triangle region and 2) to continue to employ a full-time Project Co-ordinator for six months to continue to develop the programme, launch the EDGE coral reef section of the website and develop and implement the regional training course.

http://www.edgeofexistence.org/coral_reef/default.php

 



Project 11251786 location - United Kingdom, Europe