NOAA reports discovery of table coral, Acropora cytherea, off O'ahu

August 8, 2013

NOAA scientists report the discovery of the first known colony of table coral off of the south shore of O'ahu in Hawai'i. A report on the discovery was published last month in the Bulletin of Marine Science.

Given its common name due to its flat-topped, table-like shape, table coral (Acropora cytherea) is one of the primary reef-building corals throughout most of the tropical Pacific, but it has never been observed in waters off O'ahu - until now, researchers said. The coral, estimated to be 14 years old, was found at a depth of 60 feet during a training dive.

"This discovery represents a significant contribution to the diversity of O'ahu reefs," said Daniel Wagner, Ph.D., NOAA research specialist with Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument. "Hawai'i may be in the process of being colonized by table coral from Johnston Atoll or other neighboring tropical archipelagos."

Table coral is abundant at Johnston Atoll, 800 miles southeast of Honolulu. However, it is rare in Hawai'i, where its distribution is limited to French Frigate Shoals and neighboring atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The coral colony was discovered by scientists last November during survey dives using closed-circuit rebreathers off the south shore of O'ahu. Rebreathers recycle the gases that divers breathe, removing carbon dioxide and actively managing , thereby allowing for extended dive times and more efficient decompression at depths not accessible using conventional SCUBA.

Explore further: Rapid response team investigates coral disease outbreak in Kaneohe Bay, O'ahu

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Global index proposed to avoid delays on climate policies

August 4, 2015

Professor David Frame, Director of Victoria's Climate Change Research Institute (CCRI), has co-authored a paper published today in the high profile international scientific journal Nature Climate Change. The paper argues ...

Researchers investigate increased ocean acidification

August 3, 2015

The primary cause of global ocean acidification is the oceanic absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere. Although this absorption helps to mitigate some of the effects of anthropogenic climate change, it has resulted in a reduction ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.