Density of Associated Macrofauna of Black Corals
(Anthozoa: Antipatharia) in Jagna, Bohol, Central Philippines


Hyacinth N. Suarez1,2, Danilo T. Dy2 and Renante R. Violanda3

1Natural Science and Math Department, College of Arts and Sciences,
Holy Name University, Tagbilaran City, Bohol
2Department of Biology, University of San Carlos, Cebu City
3Department of Physics, University of San Carlos, Cebu City

corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Black corals or antipatharians (Anthozoa: Antipatharia) are abundantly found in the waters (depths of 15-40 m) of Jagna, Bohol, Central Philippines. However, inaccessibility due to SCUBA depth limitation has discouraged researchers from documenting the ecological role of antipatharians in hosting associated macrofauna. The study, conducted in August-September 2013 and February 2014 at 15-40 m depth, compared the density of macrofauna between whip and branching black corals among different colony sizes, across six sampling sites and different depth ranges. Each colony size of black corals was determined by writing a script under LabVIEW. Of the forty colonies observed (eight branching and 32 whip types), 68% (or 27 colonies) hosted associated macrofauna. Eighteen macrofauna taxa belonging to six phyla were identified: Porifera, Cnidaria (Anthozoa), Mollusca (Gastropoda and Bivalvia), Echinodermata (Crinoidea), Arthropoda (Cirripedia) and Chordata (Ascidiaceae and Actinopterygii). The average density of macrofauna ranged from 82 to 8,313 individuals/m2, with counts ranging from 1 to 74 individuals. The crinoids were found to be the most abundant with 243 individuals and a density of 166 individuals/m2. By generating data using Monte Carlo simulation and comparison by student t-test at 95%, p=0.05, a significant difference in the density of macrofauna between whip and branching black corals was found. However, there was no significant difference between density of macrofauna and sampling stations, depth, and colony size (Spearman R correlation and Kruskal-Wallis test; 95%, p=0.05). This lack of statistical difference suggests higher within group variance than between group variance. Black corals should be protected in the entire study site to promote biodiversity at depths and in areas not inhabited by scleractinian corals.



Antipatharians are colonial anthozoans characterized by small polyps with 6 simple tentacles and a noncalcareous skeletal axis with colonies which can grow to a height of 10 cm to 2 m or more. These organisms are exclusively marine with some species thriving in areas with reduced light intensity and depths ranging from about 20 to 500 m (Opresko 2009). The bathymetric . . . . . read more



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