Reef Fauna and Flora
Coral covers from 10% to 45% of the hard substrate and comprise 40% to 80% of the solid reef mass. The bulk of most reefs is made up of Montastrea spp. and Diploria spp. as revealed by dynamited sections. Millepora is to be found on the reef face and reef top where it encrusts flat surfaces or the branched stubs of dead sea fans and sea whips. Branching coral such as Oculina spp. and Madracis decactis grow near the base of the reef face. Thin saucer shaped coral Agaricia fragilis occurs only beneath or behind overhanging projections. Bun shaped Siderastrea spp. and Isophyllia spp. grow near the bases of coral knobs.
Alcyonarian corals (Gorgonia and
Plexaurella) bush out over much of the reef rock surface
and produce fine sand size calcareous spicules. The calcareous alga Stypopodium,
Galaxaura, Padina, Udotea
and Nermeris produce fine sediments, and Goniolithon,
Amphiroa and Halimeda produce
abundant sand size sediment.