Geologica Belgica

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Acroporidae of the Caribbean

(volume 15 (2012) — number 4 - Proceedings of the XIth International Symposium on Fossil Cnidaria and Porifera)
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Mots-clés : Climate Change, evolution, Biogeography, Coral reefs, Oligocene/Miocene turnover, fossils, Scleractinia.


The scleractinian family Acroporidae reaches its greatest diversity in the Indo-Pacific region, where it has six extant genera and around 250 valid species, and dominates coral species composition on many reefs. Only one genus, Acropora, represented by only two species, survives in the Caribbean, although at least four other genera, Astreopora, Alveopora, Dendracis and Isopora are present in the Caribbean fossil record. Using fossil specimens from museum collections, this study reviews the Caribbean genera and species of Acroporidae and their relevance to the evolution and biogeography of the family. Two turnover periods (late Oligocene/early Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene) have been recognised as major influences on the post-Tethyan fossil history of Caribbean reef-building Scleractinia. Because of the importance of Acroporidae in the Indo-Pacific today, the successive origination and loss of taxa as well as unique taxon characteristics in the Caribbean setting are of interest in assessing the challenges faced by extant taxa under a regime of global climate change.

To cite this article

Carden C. WALLACE, «Acroporidae of the Caribbean», Geologica Belgica [En ligne], volume 15 (2012), number 4 - Proceedings of the XIth International Symposium on Fossil Cnidaria and Porifera, 388-393 URL :

About: Carden C. WALLACE

Museum of Tropical Queensland, 70-102 Flinders St., Townsville, 4810 Australia;