A study at Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef showed that coral abundance varied over the years.
Very little is known about the ecology and distribution of the corals of West Africa. Some of the coral species in West Africa are also found extending into the West Indes and Brazilian water. One example is Madracis pharensis, a coral found everywhere in the subtropical and tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean. Ecological differences usually exist between a species which has such a wide geographic distribution.
Reef coral taxonomy has not reached a definitive stage yet. However, it can be said that the western Atlantic region contains "a relatively homogeneous faunal assemblage of hermatypic scleractinian species." Areas that this holds true for include the Caribbean Sea, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and southern Florida. Large barrier reefs are present in the Caribbean, off the coast of British Honduras, and there are fringing reefs off the narrow insular shelf along Jamaica's north coast. River runoff and the detrimental effects of the high seas may explain the absence of coral reefs off the north coast of Puerto Rico.
In Panama the coral reefs are noted for high species diversity and high biomass. The Panamanian reefs are found in bottom areas with moderated sedimentation and much river drainage. Most active growth of corals has been noted along terrace edges where the sediment drainage and plankton supply are best. Caribbean reef development may be controlled by factors such as volcanic sediments (St. Vincent areas), pressure belts that affect rainfall and the path of cyclones, sea conditions, tidal patterns, currents, upwelling centers. Hurricanes tend to destroy reefs on the leeward sides of islands. Minor storms can generate high seas that destroy the ramose corals such as Acrpora plamata that have erect growth postures. Recovery can take from 20 to 25 year...
Coral Reef Environment. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 23:08, March 28, 2015, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303925996.html