Staghorn Coral

Staghorn Coral

Latin name: Acropora Cervicornis,
Conservsation status: critically endangered (population is stable)

Coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystems in the marine world and can take 10,000 years to form. They cover less than 1% of the ocean floor but are habitat for at least 25% of all known marine life. A coral is made up of thousands of tiny animals called polyps, protected by a hard skeleton. There are 160 different species of Staghorn Coral.

In the last 30 years the Staghorn Coral population has decreased by 80% from disease, pollution, development and damage. Climate change is increasing the risk of extinction. Corals live in symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relation with algae. The coral receives nutrients and oxygen from algae, and the algae receive nutrients and carbon dioxide from the coral. Rising sea temperature increases algae growth so oxygen levels become too high for the coral, causing "bleaching"—the coral expels the algae and dies. Higher ocean acidity contributes to bleaching and also reduces the ability of corals and other marine animals to build hard shells. Other threats from climate change are sea level rise, changes in currents and storm damage.


Other animals at risk

Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane
The tallest bird in North America, the Whooping Crane is able to fly 500 miles a day. Some young cranes hatched in captivity learned their migration routes by following ultralight air craft.
Bicknells Thrush
Bicknells Thrush
One of the rarest birds in North America, the female may have up to four mates at one time.
Rusty Patched Bumble Bee
Rusty Patched Bumble Bee
Bees have existed on the planet for at least 40 million years. There are 250 species of bumblebees and seven species of honeybees. Fatter and furrier than honeybees, bumble bees make only a small amount of honey for their own food.
Ivory Gull
Ivory Gull
Ivory Gulls build large nests of dry grass, moss, lichen and seaweed. In winter and early spring when food is scarce, foraging Caribou eat the nests. The gulls live in the high Arctic, rarely migrating any farther south than the Bering Sea.

The Staghorn Coral is at risk from climate change because of:The Staghorn Coral is also threatened by: