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Deepwater/Coldwater Coral Reef Biota (Biotic Subclass)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 420

Biotic Setting Benthic/Attached Biota
Biotic Class Reef Biota
Biotic Subclass Deepwater/Coldwater Coral Reef Biota
Biotic Group Deepwater/Coldwater Stony Coral Reef
Deepwater/Coldwater Stylasterid Coral Reef
Colonized Deepwater/Coldwater Reef


Description
Definition Areas dominated by biota closely associated with the structures and settings created by azooxanthellate (lacking symbiotic algae), deep-water, stony corals (Order Scleractinia) or stylasterid corals (Order Anthoathecatae; Family Stylasteridae). Biotic groups and communities for the Deepwater/Coldwater Coral Reef subclass recognize coral reef areas as structural settings that were constructed by the framework-forming corals. The living coral reef is characterized by the presence of live reef-forming corals, but may or may not be dominated by living corals; other fauna may in fact exceed the corals in percent cover.

The Deepwater/Coldwater Coral Reefs are separated into two Biotic Groups based on whether they are formed by stony corals or stylasterid corals. The growth forms of those corals and the reefs they create are structurally different. Biotic communities are characterized by the dominant species of framework-forming, deep-sea coral. For example, a Deepwater/Coldwater Lophelia Reef would be dominated by Lophelia pertusa coral, but may include other stony corals such as Madrepora oculata, Enallopsammia rostrata, or Solenosmilia variabilis.