An extensive monospecific stand of Blue coral Heliopora coerulea (Pallas, 1766) in the Chetlat atoll of Lakshadweep Archipelago
The study reports massive and dense Blue coral Heliopora coerulea (Pallas, 1766) population in Chetlat atoll, one of the northernmost atolls in the Lakshadweep Archipelago. Globally, there are only a few instances of the occurrence of such massive blue coral populations, mostly from Japan. Underwater survey shows that about 60 % of the entire reef area is occupied by the Blue coral. In addition, this atoll was observed to have lesser cover of different species of Acropora as compared to the reports from other Lakshadweep atolls. Both Acropora and Heliopora are described to be mutually competitive and Heliopora are comparatively more resilient to climatic stressors. The knowledge about the occurrence of such a large swathe of the Blue corals is important in the current scenario of the widespread deterioration of the coral reefs due to changing climate.
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