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Distribution and ecology of Porites lobata Anthozoa Scleractinea in the western coast of Mexico Distribucion geografica y depredacion de Porites lobata Anthozoa Scleractinia en la costa occidental de Mexico



Distribution and ecology of Porites lobata Anthozoa Scleractinea in the western coast of Mexico Distribucion geografica y depredacion de Porites lobata Anthozoa Scleractinia en la costa occidental de Mexico



Revista de Biologia Tropical. March-June; 471-2: 273-279



The hermatypic coral Porites lobata Dana, 1846 is one of the most important species in Central American reef communities, recorded in Mexico only in 1992, at the Revillagigedo Archipelago. This paper describes the geographic distribution and predation pressure on P. lobata in the west coast of Mexico, based on field observations and literature data. The species is distributed in Mexico on a coastal section of about 200 km, from Nayarit (20degree N) to Colima (19degree N), and in the Revillagigedo Islands (18degree N); P. lobata does not occur in the Gulf of California (23degree to 30degree N), or at coral communities placed from 17degree N to 15degree N. Its disjunct distribution can be explained considering the Revillagigedos as larval emiter to the mainland, using the Northequatorial Countercurrent as dispersal mechanism. Comparing coral communities where P. lobata is found, it was more abundant in the Revillagigedos than at the mainland. However, predator damage seems to be greater in Nayarit-Jalisco-Colima than in the oceanic islands, possibly because corallivore fishes were less abundant in the latter. Population density of coral bioeroders (sponges, polychaetes, sipinculans and bivalves) in P. lobata was similar and sometimes higher at the Revillagigedos than in coastal sites, suggesting the possibility of a primary productivity differential among those locations.

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