Two corals in the Commonwealth—Acropora globiceps and Pavona diffluens— have been classified as threatened on a list put out last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The two corals are among 20 other threatened species on NOAA’S 2014 Corals Endangered Species Act listing for areas in U.S. Caribbean and Pacific waters.
Acropora globiceps and Pavona diffluens are also listed as threatened in Guam, as well as in other Pacific areas like the Pacific Remote Islands and American Samoa.
Acropora globiceps is commonly found on upper reef slopes and reef flats in shallow, tropical reef environments, and at a depth of up to 8 meters, according to data on threatened species found online.
Pavona diffluens occurs in most reef environments, and is found from 5 to 20 meters.
NOAA describes the recent listing as “unprecedented” in the amount of information sought, obtained, and analyzed in the ruling of threatened species.
General reef building coral biology, habitat characteristics and threats, as well as other species-specific and demographic information were studied, according to NOAA.
NOAA said they intend to work with other agencies as well as possibly affected coastal jurisdictions on “mitigation measures and recovery strategies for the newly listed corals.”
As of now, there are no prohibitions on the two species relating to individual contact as they are listed as threatened and not endangered; prohibitions against taking are for species listed as endangered under ESA.
However, NOAA said—on the listing—that they may specify regulations for the 20 threatened corals in the future.
Last week’s list is significantly different from the proposed role in 2012, which listed 66 threatened and endangered species.
NOAA said changes were brought on by new information gathered and received, as well public comments that helped refine their decisions.