A molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor two years ago devastated the harbor’s coral reefs and killed hundreds of thousands of fish, but a little studied coral in the harbor and in Hawaii survived better than most, according to researchers with the Kewalo Marine Laboratory in the Kewalo Basin on the south shore of Oahu. Leptastrea purpurea, which is commonly known as a crust coral, survived the spill and appears to be doing better than the other corals in the islands, which are dealing with a massive coral bleaching event.
University of Hawaii at Manoa doctoral student Narrissa Spies, who is working toward a degree in biology took interest in the coral due in part to the unusual way in which it reproduces. She then conducted research on the species and concluded that it is resistant to many stressors such as temperature, sedimentation and chemicals, Francois Seneca a junior researcher at the lab told HawaiiNewsNow.
“The term ‘super coral’ has been thrown around, but also ‘tough corals,’ the corals that are able to withstand the types of temperatures and stresses that we’re looking at in the next 100 years due to climate change,” Spies said.
While Leptastrea purpurea may fare better than other corals in the Hawaiian Island chain, it is not a reef reef building cal species, the researchers say Thy do though will continue to study the species in hops that they can find out why it is stronger than other corals when i comes to the stressors that kill corals.
Leptastrea purpurea are a flat crust coral that are common throughout the Pacific and Indo-Pacific region to Africa. They vary in color from pale yellow, to greenish or cream, to brown.
John Virata has been keeping fish since he was 10 years old. He currently keeps an 80 gallon cichlid tank, a 20 gallon freshwater community tank and a 29 gallon BioCube with a Percula clown, a huge blue green chromis, and a firefish all in his kitchen, and a 55 gallon FOWLR tank with a pair of Ocellaris clowns, two blue green chromis, a six line wrasse, a peppermint shrimp, assorted algae and a few aiptasia anemones in his living room. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata