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.