Spanish Anchor Associated Biology

Associated Biology

The Spanish Anchor has provided a substrate large enough to support coral polyp settlement and development for many years with documentation from Indiana University since 1996. Past reports note some of the same major biological features observed in the recent May 2021 assessment. The largest biological feature is a Carvernous Star Coral Montastrea cavernosa, which was previously noted with a small section of disease on the western side of the coral (Indiana University 1996). The hard coral is now in poor condition on the shank of the anchor with disease covering almost the entire surface of the coral. Another biological feature reported was White Encrusting Zoanthid Palythoa cabearum covering another large section of the anchor shank. White Encrusting Zoanthid is observed to be covering a larger surface of the shank, as well as growing in other clusters on the anchor’s crown, arms, and palms. Brown Clustered Tube Sponge was reported growing at the base of the Cavernous Star Coral and was observed in the May 2021 assessment. Six Common Sea Fans Gorgonia ventalina were reported in 1996, four were observed growing on the anchor in 2021. Juvenile Branching Fire Coral Millepora alcicornis was reported growing in various clusters (Indiana University 1996). Various clusters were observed in healthy condition in 2021. New colonizers such as Sea Plumes, Sea Fans, Tube Sponges, and Hard Coral were noted in the 1996 report and were observed on appeared to be in good condition to date.  (Baelz, 2021).


Biota present on the Spanish Anchor during the May 2021 assessment.

General Habitat: The anchor sits at a depth 20-25 feet of water on Molasses Reef.

Benthic Habitat: Platform margin reef  

Noted Damage to Biota: Biological are in poor condition. White Band Disease, Back Band Disease, White Encrusting Zoanthid.   

Hazards to Biota: Hazards include diver-induced damage to coral, due to poor buoyancy control or from a lack of environmental awareness. Other hazards include rising water temperature, pH, and acidification.  

 (Baelz, 2021).

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