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Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências

Print version ISSN 0001-3765On-line version ISSN 1678-2690

Abstract

SILVA, JANINE F. et al. Growth of the tropical zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) on reefs in northeastern Brazil. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2015, vol.87, n.2, pp.985-996.  Epub Apr 17, 2015. ISSN 0001-3765.  https://doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765201520140475.

In Brazilian reefs, zoanthids, especially Palythoa caribaeorum are fundamental for structuring the local benthic community. The objective of this study was to determine the growth rate of P. caribaeorum, and to assess the influence of the site (different beaches), season (dry and wet), location (intertidal or infralittoral zones), and human pressure associated with tourism. For one year we monitored the cover of P. caribaeorum in transects and focused on 20 colonies. We cut off a square (100 cm2) from the central part of the colony and monitored the bare area for four months in each season. The average growth rates varied from 0.015 and 0.021 cm.day-1. The rate was homogeneous in all localities, and there was no influence from colony site, location, or touristic visitation, showing that the growth velocity may be an intrinsic characteristic of the species, with a strong genetic component. The growth rate of P. caribaeorum differed among months, and peaked in the first month after injury. The average cover varied from 6.2 to 22.9% and was lower on the reef visited by tourists. The present study corroborates the hypothesis that P. caribaeorum is important for coastal reef dynamics due to its fast and continuous growth.

Keywords : growth rate; trampling; tropical reefs; zoantharia.

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