[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 236 (Friday, December 7, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 73219-73262]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29350]



[[Page 73219]]

Vol. 77

Friday,

No. 236

December 7, 2012

Part III





Department of Commerce





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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





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50 CFR Parts 223 and 224





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Proposed Listing 
Determinations for 82 Reef-Building Coral Species; Proposed 
Reclassification of Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis From 
Threatened to Endangered; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 236 / Friday, December 7, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 223 and 224

[Docket No. 0911231415-2625-02]
RIN 0648-XT12


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Proposed Listing 
Determinations for 82 Reef-Building Coral Species; Proposed 
Reclassification of Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis from 
Threatened to Endangered

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We, NMFS, have completed comprehensive status reviews under 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 82 reef-building coral species in 
response to a petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity 
(CBD) to list the species as either threatened or endangered. We have 
determined, based on the best scientific and commercial data available 
and efforts being made to protect the species, that 12 of the 
petitioned coral species warrant listing as endangered (five Caribbean 
and seven Indo-Pacific), 54 coral species warrant listing as threatened 
(two Caribbean and 52 Indo-Pacific), and 16 coral species (all Indo-
Pacific) do not warrant listing as threatened or endangered under the 
ESA. Additionally, we have determined, based on the best scientific and 
commercial information available and efforts undertaken to protect the 
species, two Caribbean coral species currently listed warrant 
reclassification from threatened to endangered. We are announcing that 
18 public hearings will be held during the public comment period to 
provide additional opportunities and formats to receive public input. 
See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for public hearing dates, times, and 
locations.

DATES: Comments on this proposal must be received by March 7, 2013. See 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for public hearing dates, times, and 
locations.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2010-0036, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To 
submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ``submit a 
comment'' icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2010-0036 in the keyword search. 
Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and 
click on the ``Submit a Comment'' icon on the right of that line.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Regulatory Branch Chief, 
Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, 
Honolulu, HI 96814; or Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional 
Office, 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701, Attn: 82 
coral species proposed listing.
     Fax: 808-973-2941; Attn: Protected Resources Regulatory 
Branch Chief; or 727-824-5309; Attn: Protected Resources Assistant 
Regional Administrator.
    Instructions: You must submit comments by one of the above methods 
to ensure that we receive, document, and consider them. Comments sent 
by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received 
after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All 
comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be 
posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All 
personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) you submit 
will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. We will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.
    You can obtain the petition and reference materials regarding this 
determination via the NMFS Pacific Island Regional Office Web site: 
http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/PRD_coral.html; NMFS Southeast Regional 
Office Web site: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/esa/82CoralSpecies.htm; 
NMFS HQ Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html; or by submitting a request to the Regulatory Branch 
Chief, Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, 
Honolulu, HI 96814, Attn: 82 coral species. See SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION for public hearing dates, times, and locations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chelsey Young, NMFS, Pacific Islands 
Regional Office, 808-944-2137; Lance Smith, NMFS, Pacific Island 
Regional Office, 808-944-2258; Jennifer Moore, NMFS, Southeast Regional 
Office, 727-824-5312; or Marta Nammack, NMFS, Office of Protected 
Resources, 301-427-8469.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On October 20, 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) 
petitioned us to list 83 reef-building coral species as either 
threatened or endangered under the ESA and to designate critical 
habitat. The 83 species included in the petition are: Acanthastrea 
brevis, Acanthastrea hemprichii, Acanthastrea ishigakiensis, 
Acanthastrea regularis, Acropora aculeus, Acropora acuminata, Acropora 
aspera, Acropora dendrum, Acropora donei, Acropora globiceps, Acropora 
horrida, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora listeri, Acropora lokani, 
Acropora microclados, Acropora palmerae, Acropora paniculata, Acropora 
pharaonis, Acropora polystoma, Acropora retusa, Acropora rudis, 
Acropora speciosa, Acropora striata, Acropora tenella, Acropora 
vaughani, Acropora verweyi, Agaricia lamarcki, Alveopora allingi, 
Alveopora fenestrata, Alveopora verrilliana, Anacropora puertogalerae, 
Anacropora spinosa, Astreopora cucullata, Barabattoia laddi, Caulastrea 
echinulata, Cyphastrea agassizi, Cyphastrea ocellina, Dendrogyra 
cylindrus, Dichocoenia stokesii, Euphyllia cristata, Euphyllia 
paraancora, Euphyllia paradivisa, Galaxea astreata, Heliopora coerulea, 
Isopora crateriformis, Isopora cuneata, Leptoseris incrustans, 
Leptoseris yabei, Millepora foveolata, Millepora tuberosa, Montastraea 
annularis, Montastraea faveolata, Montastraea franksi, Montipora 
angulata, Montipora australiensis, Montipora calcarea, Montipora 
caliculata, Montipora dilatata, Montipora flabellata, Montipora 
lobulata, Montipora patula, Mycetophyllia ferox, Oculina varicosa, 
Pachyseris rugosa, Pavona bipartita, Pavona cactus, Pavona decussata, 
Pavona diffluens, Pavona venosa, Pectinia alcicornis, Physogyra 
lichtensteini, Pocillopora danae, Pocillopora elegans, Porites 
horizontalata, Porites napopora, Porites nigrescens, Porites pukoensis, 
Psammocora stellata, Seriatopora aculeata, Turbinaria mesenterina, 
Turbinaria peltata, Turbinaria reniformis, and Turbinaria stellulata. 
Eight of the petitioned species occur in the Caribbean and 75 of the 
petitioned species occur in the Indo-Pacific region.

[[Page 73221]]

Most of the 83 species can be found in the United States, its 
territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Navassa, Northern 
Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Pacific Remote Island Areas), or 
its freely associated states (Republic of the Marshall Islands, 
Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau), though many 
occur more frequently in other countries.
    On February 10, 2010, we published a positive 90-day finding (75 FR 
6616; February 10, 2010) in which we described our determination that 
the petition contained substantial scientific and commercial 
information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted for 
all of the petitioned species except the Caribbean species Oculina 
varicosa. Subsequently, we announced the initiation of a formal status 
review of the remaining 82 species (hereinafter referred to as 
``candidate species'') as required by section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA. 
Concurrently, we solicited input from the public on six categories of 
information: (1) Historical and current distribution and abundance of 
these species throughout their ranges (U.S. and foreign waters); (2) 
historical and current condition of these species and their habitat; 
(3) population density and trends; (4) the effects of climate change on 
the distribution and condition of these coral species and other 
organisms in coral reef ecosystems over the short and long term; (5) 
the effects of all other threats including dredging, coastal 
development, coastal point source pollution, agricultural and land use 
practices, disease, predation, reef fishing, aquarium trade, physical 
damage from boats and anchors, marine debris, and aquatic invasive 
species on the distribution and abundance of these coral species over 
the short and long term; and (6) management programs for conservation 
of these species, including mitigation measures related to any of the 
threats listed under (5) above.
    The ESA requires us to make determinations on whether species are 
threatened or endangered ``solely on the basis of the best scientific 
and commercial data available * * * after conducting a review of the 
status of the species * * * '' (16 U.S.C. 1533). Further, consistent 
with case law, our implementing regulations specifically direct us not 
to take possible economic or other impacts of listing species into 
consideration (50 CFR 424.11(b)). In order to conduct a comprehensive 
status review for this petition, given the number of species, the 
geographic scope and issues surrounding coral biology and extinction 
risk, we convened a Coral Biological Review Team (BRT) composed of 
seven Federal scientists from NMFS' Pacific Islands, Northwest, and 
Southeast Fisheries Science Centers, as well as the U.S. Geological 
Survey and National Park Service. The members of the BRT are a diverse 
group of scientists with expertise in coral biology, coral ecology, 
coral taxonomy, physical oceanography, global climate change, and coral 
population dynamics. The BRT's comprehensive, peer-reviewed Status 
Review Report (SRR, Brainard et al., 2011) incorporates and summarizes 
the best available scientific and commercial information as of August 
2011 on the following topics: (1) Long-term trends in abundance 
throughout each species' range; (2) potential factors for any decline 
of each species throughout its range (human population, ocean warming, 
ocean acidification, overharvesting, natural predation, disease, 
habitat loss, etc.); (3) historical and current range, distribution, 
and habitat use of each species; (4) historical and current estimates 
of population size and available habitat; and (5) knowledge of various 
life history parameters (size/age at maturity, fecundity, length of 
larval stage, larval dispersal dynamics, etc.). The SRR evaluates the 
status of each species, identifies threats to the species, and 
estimates the risk of extinction for each of the candidate species out 
to the year 2100. The BRT also considered the petition, comments we 
received as a result of the 90-day Finding (75 FR 6616; February 10, 
2010), and the results of the peer review of the draft SRR, and 
incorporated relevant information from these sources into the final 
SRR. Given the scope of the undertaking to gather and evaluate 
biological information for an 82-species status review, the BRT elected 
not to evaluate adequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation efforts in addressing threats to the 82 coral species. 
Thus, we developed a supplementary, peer-reviewed Draft Management 
Report (NMFS, 2012a) to identify information relevant to factor 
4(a)(1)(D), inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, and 
protective efforts that may provide protection to the corals pursuant 
to ESA section 4(b). We combined the information from the SRR and the 
Draft Management Report to develop and apply the listing Determination 
Tool (discussed below).
    On April 17, 2012, we published a Federal Register notice 
announcing the availability of the SRR and the Draft Management Report. 
The response to the petition to list 83 coral species is one of the 
broadest and most complex listing reviews we have ever undertaken. 
Given the petition's scale and the precedential nature of the issues, 
we determined that our decision-making process would be strengthened if 
we took additional time to allow the public, non-federal experts, non-
governmental organizations, state and territorial governments, and 
academics to review and provide information related to the SRR and the 
Draft Management Report prior to issuing our 12-month finding. We 
specifically requested information on the following: (1) Relevant 
scientific information collected or produced since the completion of 
the SRR or any relevant scientific information not included in the SRR; 
and (2) Relevant management information not included in the Draft 
Management Report, such as descriptions of regulatory mechanisms for 
greenhouse gas emissions globally, and for local threats in the 83 
foreign countries and the U.S. (Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. 
Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands), 
where the 82 coral species collectively occur. Further, in June 2012, 
we held listening sessions and scientific workshops in the Southeast 
region and Pacific Islands region to engage the scientific community 
and the public in person. During this public engagement period, which 
ended on July 31, 2012, we received over 42,000 letters and emails. 
Also, we were provided or we identified approximately 400 relevant 
scientific articles, reports, or presentations either produced since 
the SRR was finalized or not originally included in the SRR. We 
compiled and synthesized all relevant information that we identified or 
received into the Supplemental Information Report (SIR; NMFS, 2012b). 
Additionally, we incorporated all relevant management and conservation 
information into the Final Management Report (NMFS, 2012c).
    Therefore, the 82 candidate coral species comprehensive status 
review consists of the SRR (Brainard et al., 2011), the SIR (NMFS, 
2012b), and the Final Management Report (NMFS, 2012c). The findings on 
the petition described in this notice are based on the information 
contained within these reports.

Listing Species Under the Endangered Species Act

    We are responsible for determining whether each of the 82 candidate 
corals are threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) We first must consider whether each candidate species meets the 
definition of a ``species'' in section 3 of the ESA, then whether the 
status of each species

[[Page 73222]]

qualifies it for listing as threatened or endangered under the ESA. As 
described above, we convened the BRT which produced the SRR (Brainard 
et al., 2011), then a public engagement period was opened which led to 
the SIR and Final Management Report (NMFS, 2012b; NMFS, 2012c). We 
developed a Determination Tool to consistently interpret and apply the 
information in the three reports to the definitions of ``endangered'' 
and ``threatened'' species in the ESA, in order to produce proposed 
listing determinations for each of the 82 species (the Determination 
Tool is introduced and described in the Risk Analyses section below). 
The BRT participated in the implementation of the Determination Tool, 
and concurred that its inputs (demographic, spatial, and threat 
vulnerability ratings for each species) are the best available 
information. Further, the BRT believes our listing determinations for 
the 82 candidate species are consistent with their extinction risk 
analyses.
    This finding begins with an overview of coral biology, ecology, and 
taxonomy in the Introduction to Corals and Coral Reefs section below, 
which also discusses whether each candidate species meets the 
definition of a ``species'' for purposes of the ESA. Other relevant 
background information in this section includes the general 
characteristics of the habitats and environments in which the 82 
candidate species are found. The finding then summarizes information on 
factors adversely affecting and posing extinction risk to corals in 
general in the Threats to Coral Species section. The Risk Analyses 
section then describes development and application of the Determination 
Tool that resulted in proposed listing statuses for the 82 candidate 
species.

Introduction to Corals and Coral Reefs

    Corals are marine invertebrates in the phylum Cnidaria that occur 
as polyps, usually forming colonies of many clonal polyps on a calcium 
carbonate skeleton. The Cnidaria include true stony corals (class 
Anthozoa, order Scleractinia), the blue coral (class Anthozoa, order 
Helioporacea), and fire corals (class Hydrozoa, order Milleporina). 
Members of these three orders are represented among the 82 candidate 
coral species (79 Scleractinia, one Helioporacea, and two Milleporina). 
All 82 candidate species are reef-building corals, because they secrete 
massive calcium carbonate skeletons that form the physical structure of 
coral reefs. Reef-building coral species collectively produce coral 
reefs over time in high-growth conditions, but these species also occur 
in non-reef habitats (i.e., they are reef-building, but not reef-
dependent). There are approximately 800 species of reef-building corals 
in the world.
    Most reef-building coral species are in the order Scleractinia, 
consisting of over 25 families, 100 genera, and the great majority of 
the approximately 800 species. Most Scleractinian corals form complex 
colonies made up of a tissue layer of polyps (a column with mouth and 
tentacles on the upper side) growing on top of a calcium carbonate 
skeleton, which the polyps produce through the process of 
calcification. Scleractinian corals are characterized by polyps with 
multiples of six tentacles around the mouth for feeding and capturing 
prey items in the water column. In contrast, the blue coral, Heliopora 
coerulea, is characterized by polyps always having eight tentacles, 
rather than the multiples of six that characterize stony corals. The 
blue coral is the only species in the suborder Octocorallia (the 
``octocorals'') that forms a skeleton, and as such is the primary 
octocoral reef-building species. Finally, Millepora fire corals are 
also reef-building species, but unlike the scleractinians and 
octocorals, they have near microscopic polyps containing tentacles with 
stinging cells.
    Reef-building coral species are capable of rapid calcification 
rates because of their symbiotic relationship with single-celled 
dinoflagellate algae, zooxanthellae, which occur in great numbers 
within the host coral tissues. Zooxanthellae photosynthesize during the 
daytime, producing an abundant source of energy for the host coral that 
enables rapid growth. At night, polyps extend their tentacles to 
filter-feed on microscopic particles in the water column such as 
zooplankton, providing additional nutrients for the host coral. In this 
way, reef-building corals obtain nutrients autotrophically (i.e., via 
photosynthesis) during the day, and heterotrophically (i.e., via 
predation) at night. In contrast, non-reef-building coral species do 
not contain zooxanthellae in their tissues, and thus are not capable of 
rapid calcification. Unlike reef-building corals, these 
``azooxanthellate'' species are not dependent on light for 
photosynthesis, and thus are able to occur in low-light habitats such 
as caves and deep water. We provide additional information in the 
following sections on the biology and ecology of reef-building corals 
and coral reefs.

Taxonomic Uncertainty in Reef-Building Corals

    In addressing the species question, the BRT had to address issues 
related to the considerable taxonomic uncertainty in corals (e.g., 
reliance on morphological features rather than genetic and genomic 
science to delineate species) and corals' evolutionary history of 
reticulate processes (i.e., individual lineages showing repeated cycles 
of divergence and convergence via hybridization). To address taxonomic 
uncertainty, except as described below where there was genetic 
information available, the BRT accepted the nominal species designation 
as listed in the petition, acknowledging that future research may 
result in taxonomic reclassification of some of the candidate species. 
Additionally, to address complex reticulate processes in corals, the 
BRT attempted to distinguish between a ``good species'' that has a 
hybrid history--meaning it may display genetic signatures of 
interbreeding and back-crossing in its evolutionary history--and a 
``hybrid species'' that is composed entirely of hybrid individuals (as 
in the case of Acropora prolifera, discussed in the status review of 
acroporid corals in the Caribbean; Acropora Biological Review Team, 
2005). The best available information indicates that, while several of 
the candidate species have hybrid histories, there is no evidence to 
suggest any of them are ``hybrid species'' (all individuals of a 
species being F1 hybrids); thus, they were all considered to meet the 
definition of a ``species''.
    Studies elucidating complex taxonomic histories were available for 
several of the genera addressed in the status review, and the BRT was 
able to incorporate those into their species determinations. Thus, 
while the BRT made species determinations for most of the 82 candidate 
coral species on the nominal species included in the petition, it 
deliberated on the proper taxonomic classification for the candidate 
species Montipora dilatata and M. flabellata; Montipora patula; and 
Porites pukoensis based on genetic studies; and Pocillopora elegans 
because the two geographically-distant populations have different modes 
of reproduction. The BRT decided to subsume a nominal species (morpho-
species) into a larger clade whenever genetic studies failed to 
distinguish between them (e.g., Montipora dilatata, M. flabellata and 
M. turgescens (not petitioned) and Porites Clade 1 forma pukoensis). 
Alternatively, in the case of Pocillopora elegans, the BRT identified 
likely differentiation within the nominal species. So, for the purposes 
of this status review, the BRT chose to separate P. elegans into two 
geographic subgroups, considered each subgroup as

[[Page 73223]]

a species as defined by the ESA, and estimated extinction risk 
separately for each of the two subgroups (eastern Pacific and the Indo-
Pacific). The combining of nominal species (i.e., Montipora spp. and 
Porites spp.) and the separation of geographically isolated populations 
of another species (P. elegans) resulted in 82 candidate species being 
evaluated for ESA listing status; however, these are not the same 82 
``species'' included in the petition in that: Montipora dilatata and M. 
flabellata were combined into one species; and P. elegans was separated 
into two. The combining of the petitioned species Montipora patula with 
the non-petitioned species P. verrilli did not affect the number of 
candidate species. We did not receive any additional information 
suggesting alteration to the BRT's species delineation nor indicating 
any of the other 82 candidates should be separated or combined. We have 
made listing determinations on the 82 candidate species identified by 
the BRT in the SRR. Finally, a coral is a marine invertebrate, and as 
such, we cannot subdivide it into DPSs (16 U.S.C. 1532(15)).

Reproductive Life History of Reef-Building Corals

    Corals use a number of diverse reproductive strategies that have 
been researched extensively; however, many individual species' 
reproductive modes remain poorly described. Most coral species use both 
sexual and asexual propagation. Sexual reproduction in corals is 
primarily through gametogenesis (i.e., development of eggs and sperm 
within the polyps near the base). Some coral species have separate 
sexes (gonochoric), while others are hermaphroditic. Strategies for 
fertilization are either by ``brooding'' or ``broadcast spawning'' 
(i.e., internal or external fertilization, respectively). Brooding is 
relatively more common in the Caribbean, where nearly 50 percent of the 
species are brooders, compared to less than 20 percent of species in 
the Indo-Pacific. Asexual reproduction in coral species most commonly 
involves fragmentation, where colony pieces or fragments are dislodged 
from larger colonies to establish new colonies, although the budding of 
new polyps within a colony can also be considered asexual reproduction. 
In many species of branching corals, fragmentation is a common and 
sometimes dominant means of propagation.
    Depending on the mode of fertilization, coral larvae (called 
planulae) undergo development either mostly within the mother colony 
(brooders) or outside of the mother colony, adrift in the ocean 
(broadcast spawners). In either mode of larval development, planula 
larvae presumably experience considerable mortality (up to 90 percent 
or more) from predation or other factors prior to settlement and 
metamorphosis. (Such mortality cannot be directly observed, but is 
inferred from the large amount of eggs and sperm spawned versus the 
much smaller number of recruits observed later.) Coral larvae are 
relatively poor swimmers; therefore, their dispersal distances largely 
depend on the duration of the pelagic phase and the speed and direction 
of water currents transporting the larvae. The documented maximum 
larval life span is 244 days (Montastraea magnistellata), suggesting 
that the potential for long-term dispersal of coral larvae, at least 
for some species, may be substantially greater than previously thought 
and may partially explain the large geographic ranges of many species.
    The spatial and temporal patterns of coral recruitment have been 
studied extensively. Biological and physical factors that have been 
shown to affect spatial and temporal patterns of coral recruitment 
include substratum availability and community structure, grazing 
pressure, fecundity, mode and timing of reproduction, behavior of 
larvae, hurricane disturbance, physical oceanography, the structure of 
established coral assemblages, and chemical cues. Additionally, factors 
other than dispersal may influence recruitment and several other 
factors may influence reproductive success and reproductive isolation, 
including external cues, genetic precision, and conspecific signaling.
    In general, on proper stimulation, coral larvae, whether brooded by 
parental colonies or developed in the water column, settle and 
metamorphose on appropriate substrates. Some evidence indicates that 
chemical cues from crustose coralline algae, microbial films, and/or 
other reef organisms or acoustic cues from reef environments stimulate 
settlement behaviors. Initial calcification ensues with the forming of 
the basal plate. Buds formed on the initial corallite develop into 
daughter corallites. Once larvae are able to settle onto appropriate 
hard substrate, metabolic energy is diverted to colony growth and 
maintenance. Because newly settled corals barely protrude above the 
substrate, juveniles need to reach a certain size to limit damage or 
mortality from threats such as grazing, sediment burial, and algal 
overgrowth. Once recruits reach about 1 to 2 years post-settlement, 
growth and mortality rates appear similar across species. In some 
species, it appears that there is virtually no limit to colony size 
beyond structural integrity of the colony skeleton, as polyps 
apparently can bud indefinitely.

Distribution and Abundance of Reef-Building Corals

    Corals need hard substrate on which to settle and form; however, 
only a narrow range of suitable environmental conditions allows the 
growth of corals and other reef calcifiers to exceed loss from 
physical, chemical, and biological erosion. While corals do live in a 
fairly wide temperature range across geographic locations, accomplished 
via either adaptation (genetic changes) or acclimatization 
(physiological or phenotypic changes), reef-building corals do not 
thrive outside of an area characterized by a fairly narrow mean 
temperature range (typically 25 [deg]C-30 [deg]C). Two other important 
factors influencing suitability of habitat are light and water quality. 
Reef-building corals require light for photosynthetic performance of 
their zooxanthellae, and poor water quality can negatively affect both 
coral growth and recruitment. Deep distribution of corals is generally 
limited by availability of light. Hydrodynamic condition (e.g., high 
wave action) is another important habitat feature, as it influences the 
growth, mortality, and reproductive rate of each species adapted to a 
specific hydrodynamic zone.
    The 82 candidate coral species are distributed throughout the 
wider-Caribbean (i.e., the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the 
Caribbean Sea, western Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico; herein 
referred to collectively as ``Caribbean''), the Indo-Pacific 
biogeographic region (i.e., the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the 
Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific Ocean, and the seas 
connecting the two in the general area of Indonesia), and the tropical 
and sub-tropical waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. The 82 candidate 
species occur in 84 countries. Seven of the 82 candidate species occur 
in the Caribbean (Agaricia lamarcki, Dendrogyra cylindrus, Dichocoenia 
stokesii, Montastraea annularis, Montastraea franksi, Montastraea 
faveola and Mycetophyllia ferox) in the United States (Florida, Puerto 
Rico, U.S. Virgin islands (U.S.V.I.), Navassa), Antigua and Barbuda, 
Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, 
Dominican Republic, France (includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. 
Barthelemy, and St. Martin), Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, the Netherlands 
(includes Aruba, Bonaire,

[[Page 73224]]

Cura[ccedil]ao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Saint Maarten), Honduras, 
Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. 
Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom 
(includes British territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, 
Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands), and 
Venezuela. The remaining 75 species occur across the Indo-Pacific 
region in the United States (Hawaii, Commonwealth of the Northern 
Mariana Islands, Territories of Guam and American Samoa, and the U.S. 
Pacific Island Remote Area), Australia (includes Australian colonies of 
Cocos-Keeling Islands, Christmas Island, and Norfolk Island), Bahrain, 
Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros Islands, Costa Rica, 
Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Eritrea, Federated States of 
Micronesia, Fiji, France (includes French territories of New Caledonia, 
French Polynesia, Mayotte, Reunion, and Wallis and Futuna), Guatemala, 
Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, 
Kiribati, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, 
Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand (includes 
New Zealand colonies of Cook Islands and Tokelau), Nicaragua, Niue, 
Oman, Palau, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, 
Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, 
South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-
Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom 
(includes British colonies of Pitcairn Islands and British Indian Ocean 
Territory), Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Yemen.
    Determining abundance of the 82 candidate coral species presented a 
unique challenge because corals are clonal, colonial invertebrates, and 
colony growth occurs by the addition of new polyps. Colonies can 
exhibit partial mortality in which a subset of the polyps in a colony 
dies, but the colony persists. Colonial species present a special 
challenge in determining the appropriate unit to evaluate for status 
(i.e., abundance). In addition, new coral colonies, particularly in 
branching species, can be added to a population by fragmentation 
(breakage from an existing colony of a branch that reattaches to the 
substrate and grows) as well as by sexual reproduction (see above, and 
Fig. 2.2.1 in SRR). Fragmentation results in multiple, genetically 
identical colonies (ramets) while sexual reproduction results in the 
creation of new genetically distinct individuals (genotypes or genets). 
Thus, in corals, the term ``individual'' can be interpreted as the 
polyp, the colony, or the genet.
    Quantitative abundance estimates were available for only a few of 
the candidate species. In the Indo-Pacific, many reports and long-term 
monitoring programs describe coral percent cover only to genus level 
because of the substantial diversity within many genera and 
difficulties in field identification among congeneric species. In the 
Caribbean, most of the candidate species are either too rare to 
document meaningful trends in abundance from literature reports (e.g., 
Dendrogyra cylindrus), or commonly identified only to genus 
(Mycetophyllia and Agaricia spp.), or potentially misidentified as 
another species. The only comprehensive abundance data in the Caribbean 
were for the three Montastraea species, partially because they 
historically made up a predominant part of live coral cover. Even for 
these species, the time series data are often of very short duration 
(they were not separated as sibling species until the early 1990s and 
many surveys continue to report them as Montastraea annularis complex) 
and cover a very limited portion of the species range (e.g., the time 
series only monitors a sub-section of a single national park). In 
general, the available quantitative abundance data were so limited or 
compromised due to factors such as small survey sample sizes, lack of 
species-specific data, etc., that they were considerably less 
informative for evaluating the risk to species than other data, and 
were therefore generally not included as part of the BRT individual 
species extinction risk evaluations. Thus, qualitative abundance 
characterizations (e.g., rare, common), available for all species, were 
considered in the BRT's individual species extinction risk evaluations.

Coral Reefs, Other Coral Habitats, and Overview of Candidate Coral 
Environments

    A coral reef is a complex three-dimensional structure providing 
habitat, food, and shelter for numerous marine species and, as such, 
fostering exceptionally high biodiversity. Scleractinian corals produce 
the physical structure of coral reefs, and thus are foundational 
species for these generally productive ecosystems. It has been 
estimated that coral reef ecosystems harbor around one-third of all 
marine species even though they make up only 0.2 percent in area of the 
marine environment. Coral reefs serve the following essential 
functional roles: Primary production and recycling of nutrients in 
relatively nutrient poor (oligotrophic) seas, calcium carbonate 
deposition yielding reef construction, sand production, modification of 
near-field or local water circulation patterns, and habitat for 
secondary production, including fisheries. These functional roles yield 
important ecosystem services in addition to direct economic benefits to 
human societies such as traditional and cultural uses, food security, 
tourism, and potential biomedical compounds. Coral reefs protect 
shorelines, coastal ecosystems, and coastal inhabitants from high seas, 
severe storm surge, and tsunamis.
    As described above in Distribution and Abundance, reef-building 
corals have specific habitat requirements, including hard substrate, 
narrow mean temperature range, adequate light, and adequate water flow. 
These habitat requirements most commonly occur on shallow tropical and 
subtropical coral reefs, but also occur in non-reefal and mesophotic 
areas (NMFS 2012b, SIR Section 4.3). While some reef-building corals do 
not require hard substrates, all of the 82 candidate species in this 
status review do require hard substrates. Thus, in this finding, ``non-
reefal habitat'' refers to hard substrates where reef-building corals 
can grow, including marginal habitat where conditions prevent reef 
development (e.g., turbid or high-latitude or upwelling-influenced 
areas) and recently available habitat (e.g., lava flows). The term 
``mesophotic habitat'' refers to hard substrates between approximately 
30 m and 100 m of depth. The total area of non-reefal and mesophotic 
habitats is greater than the total area of shallow coral reefs within 
the ranges of the 82 species, as described in more detail below (NMFS, 
2012b, SIR Section 4.3).
    The Caribbean and Indo-Pacific basins contrast greatly both in size 
and in condition. The Caribbean basin is geographically small and 
partially enclosed, has high levels of connectivity, and has relatively 
high human population densities. The wider-Caribbean occupies five 
million square km of water and has 55,383 km of coastline, including 
approximately 5,000 islands. Shallow coral reefs occupy approximately 
25,000 square km (including [ap]2,000 square km within US waters), or 
about 10 percent of the total shallow coral reefs of the world. The 
amount of non-reefal and mesophotic habitat that could potentially be 
occupied by corals in the Caribbean is unknown, but is likely greater 
than the area of shallow coral reefs in the Caribbean (NMFS 2012b, SIR 
Section 4.3).

[[Page 73225]]

    The Caribbean region has experienced numerous disturbances to coral 
reef systems throughout recorded human history. Fishing has affected 
Caribbean reefs since before European contact. Beginning in the early 
1980s, a series of basin-scale disturbances has led to altered 
community states, and a loss of resilience (i.e., inability of corals 
and coral communities to recover after a disturbance event). Massive, 
Caribbean-wide mortality events from disease conditions of both the 
keystone grazing urchin Diadema antillarum and the dominant branching 
coral species Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis precipitated 
widespread and dramatic changes in reef community structure. None of 
the three important keystone species (Acropora palmata, Acropora 
cervicornis, and Diadema antillarum) have shown much recovery over 
decadal time scales. In addition, continuing coral mortality from 
periodic acute events such as hurricanes, disease outbreaks, and 
bleaching events from ocean warming have added to the poor state of 
Caribbean coral populations and yielded a remnant coral community with 
increased dominance by weedy brooding species, decreased overall coral 
cover, and increased macroalgal cover. Additionally, iron enrichment in 
the Caribbean may predispose the basin to algal growth. Further, coral 
growth rates in the Caribbean have been declining over decades.
    Caribbean-wide meta-analyses suggest that the current combination 
of disturbances, stressful environmental factors such as elevated ocean 
temperatures, nutrients and sediment loads, and reduced observed coral 
reproduction and recruitment have yielded poor resilience, even to 
natural disturbances such as hurricanes. Coral cover (percentage of 
reef substrate occupied by live coral) across the region has declined 
from approximately 50 percent in the 1970s to approximately 10 percent 
in the early 2000s (i.e., lower densities throughout the range, not 
range contraction), with concurrent changes between subregions in 
overall benthic composition and variation in dominant species. Further, 
a recent model suggests coral cover is likely to fall below five 
percent in the Southeastern Caribbean by 2100, even with accounting for 
potential adaptation by corals to increasing ocean temperatures caused 
by any warming scenario (NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 3.2.2). These wide-
scale changes in coral populations and communities have affected 
habitat complexity and may have already reduced overall reef-fish 
abundances; the trends are expected to continue. In combination, these 
regional factors are considered to contribute to elevated extinction 
risk for all Caribbean species.
    With the exception of coral reefs in the eastern Pacific, ocean 
basin size and diversity of habitats, as well as some vast expanses of 
ocean area with only very local, spatially-limited, direct human 
influences, have provided substantial buffering of Indo-Pacific corals 
from many of the threats and declines manifest across the Caribbean. 
The Indo-Pacific is enormous (Indian and Pacific Oceans) and hosts much 
greater coral diversity than the Caribbean region (~700 species 
compared with 65 species). The Indo-Pacific region encompasses the 
tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the western and 
central Pacific Ocean, and the seas connecting the two in the general 
area of Indonesia. This vast region occupies at least 60 million square 
km of water (more than ten times larger than the Caribbean), and 
includes 50,000 islands and over 40,000 km of continental coastline, 
spanning approximately 180 degrees of longitude and 60 degrees of 
latitude. There are approximately 240,000 square km of shallow coral 
reefs in this vast region, which is more than 90 percent of the total 
coral reefs of the world. In addition, the Indo-Pacific includes 
abundant non-reefal habitat, as well as vast but scarcely known 
mesophotic areas that provide coral habitat. The amount of non-reefal 
and mesophotic habitat that could potentially be occupied by corals in 
the Indo-Pacific is unknown, but is likely greater than the area of 
shallow coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific (NMFS, 2012b; SIR Section 4.3).
    While the reef communities in the Caribbean have lost resilience, 
the reefs in the central Pacific (e.g., American Samoa, Moorea, Fiji, 
Palau, and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands) appear to remain 
relatively resilient despite major bleaching events from ocean warming, 
hurricanes, and crown-of-thorns seastar (COTS, Acanthaster planci) 
predation outbreaks. That is, even though the reefs have experienced 
significant impacts, corals have been able to recover. Several factors 
likely result in greater resilience in the Indo-Pacific than in the 
Caribbean: (1) The Indo-Pacific is more than 10-fold larger than the 
Caribbean, including many remote areas; (2) the Indo-Pacific has 
approximately 10-fold greater diversity of reef-building coral species 
than the Caribbean; (3) broad-scale Caribbean reef degradation likely 
began earlier than in the Indo-Pacific; (4) iron enrichment in the 
Caribbean may predispose it to algal growth; (5) there is greater coral 
cover on mesophotic reefs in the Indo-Pacific than in the Caribbean; 
and (6) there is greater resilience to algal phase shifts in the Indo-
Pacific than in the Caribbean.
    Even given the relatively higher resilience in the Indo-Pacific as 
compared to the Caribbean, meta-analysis of overall coral status 
throughout the Indo-Pacific indicates that substantial loss of coral 
cover (i.e., lower densities throughout the range, not range 
contraction) has already occurred in most subregions. As of 2002-2003, 
the Indo-Pacific had an overall average of approximately 20 percent 
live coral cover, down from approximately 50 percent, compared to an 
overall average of approximately 10 percent live coral cover in the 
Caribbean at the same time. This indicates that both basins have 
experienced conditions leading to coral mortality and prevention of 
full recovery; however, the Caribbean has been more greatly impacted. 
While basin-wide averages are useful for large scale comparisons, they 
do not describe conditions at finer, regional scales. For example, 
decreases in overall live coral cover have occurred since 2002 in some 
areas, such as on the Great Barrier Reef, while increases have occurred 
in other areas, such as in American Samoa.
    In the eastern Pacific (from Mexico in the north to Ecuador in the 
south, and from the coast west out to the remote Revillagigedo, 
Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo, and Gal[aacute]pagos Islands), coral reefs 
are exposed to a number of conditions that heighten extinction risk. 
Compared to the Caribbean, coral reefs in the eastern Pacific have 
approximately one third as many genera, less than half the species, 
less reef area, and strong regional climate variability. Severe climate 
swings typical of the region continue to be a hindrance to reef growth 
today, with major losses of coral cover and even entire reefs lost from 
Mexico to the Gal[aacute]pagos Islands. Regional climatic variability 
not only has killed corals in recent decades, it has resulted in major 
loss of reef structure. This regional climatic variability produces 
extreme temperature variability (both extreme upwelling and high 
temperatures during El Ni[ntilde]o), storm events, and changes in the 
abundance, distribution, and behavior of both corallivores and 
bioeroders. Eastern Pacific reefs have been among the slowest in the 
world to recover after disturbance. Additionally, the naturally low 
calcium carbonate saturation state of eastern Pacific waters has made 
these reefs among the most fragile and subject to bioerosion in the 
world. In conclusion, there have been

[[Page 73226]]

declines in coral cover in all basins. However, thus far, the Indo-
Pacific has been less affected as a whole, due to the differentiating 
factors described above. The Caribbean and Eastern Pacific basins 
continue to experience more severe adverse conditions than the Indo-
Pacific.

Threats Evaluation

    Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA and NMFS's implementing regulations (50 
CFR 424) state that the agency must determine whether a species is 
endangered or threatened because of any one or a combination of five 
factors: (A) Present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or 
predation; (D) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) 
other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. The 
BRT evaluated factors A, B, C, and E in the SRR; the ``Inadequacy of 
Regulatory Mechanisms'' (factor D) is evaluated separately in this 12-
month Finding and is informed by the Final Management Report. Our 
consideration of the five factors was further informed by information 
received during the public engagement period and provided in the SIR, 
as explained in more detail below. The BRT identified factors acting 
directly as stressors to the 82 coral species (e.g., sedimentation and 
elevated ocean temperatures) as distinct from the sources responsible 
for those factors (e.g., land management practices and climate change) 
and qualitatively evaluated the impact each threat has on the candidate 
species' extinction risk over the foreseeable future, defined as the 
year 2100 as described below.
    We established that the appropriate period of time corresponding to 
the foreseeable future is a function of the particular type of threats, 
the life-history characteristics, and the specific habitat requirements 
for coral species under consideration. The timeframe established for 
the foreseeable future takes into account the time necessary to provide 
for the conservation and recovery of each threatened species and the 
ecosystems upon which they depend, but is also a function of the 
reliability of available data regarding the identified threats and 
extends only as far as the data allow for making reasonable predictions 
about the species' response to those threats. As described below, the 
more vulnerable a coral species is to the threats with the highest 
influence on extinction risk (i.e., ``high importance threats''; ocean 
warming, diseases, ocean acidification), the more likely the species is 
at risk of extinction. The BRT determined that ocean warming and 
related impacts of climate change have already created a clear and 
present threat to many corals, that will continue into the future; the 
threat posed by the most optimistic scenarios of greenhouse gas 
emissions in the 21st century and even the threat posed by unavoidable 
warming due to emissions that have already occurred represents a 
plausible extinction risk to the 82 candidate coral species. We agree 
with the BRT's judgment that the threats related to global climate 
change (e.g., bleaching from ocean warming, ocean acidification) pose 
the greatest potential extinction risk to corals and have been assessed 
with sufficient certainty out to the year 2100. Therefore, we have 
determined the foreseeable future for the 82 candidate species to be to 
the year 2100.
    The BRT qualitatively ranked each threat as high, medium, low, or 
negligible (or combinations of two; e.g., ``low-medium'') importance in 
terms of their contribution to extinction risk of all coral species 
across their ranges. The BRT considered the severity, geographic scope, 
the level of certainty that corals in general are affected (given the 
paucity of species-level information) by each threat, the projections 
of potential changes in the threat, and the impacts of the threat on 
each species. The BRT determined that global climate change directly 
influences two of the three highest ranked threats, ocean warming and 
ocean acidification, and indirectly (through ocean warming) influences 
the remaining highest ranked threat, disease.
    Overall, the BRT identified 19 threats (see Table 1) as posing 
either current or future extinction risk to the 82 corals. Of these, 
the BRT considers ocean warming, ocean acidification, and disease to be 
overarching and influential in posing extinction risk to each of the 82 
candidate coral species. These impacts are or are expected to become 
ubiquitous, and pose direct population disturbances (mortality and/or 
impaired recruitment) in varying degrees to each of the candidate coral 
species. There is also a category of threats (some of which have been 
responsible for great coral declines in the past) that the BRT 
considers important to coral reef ecosystems, but of medium influence 
in posing extinction risk because their effects on coral populations 
are largely indirect and/or local to regional in spatial scale. This 
category includes fishing, sea level rise, and water quality issues 
related to sedimentation and nutrification. The remaining threats can 
be locally acute, but because they affect limited geographic areas, are 
considered to be of minor overall importance in posing extinction risk. 
Examples in this category are predator outbreaks or collection for the 
ornamental trade. These types of threats, although minor overall, can 
be important in special cases, such as for species with extremely 
narrow geographic ranges and/or those species at severely depleted 
population levels. Based on the BRT's characterization of the threats 
to corals, the most important threats to the extinction risk of reef-
building corals are shown in Table 1 below, and described below. The 
description of the remaining ten threats can be found in the SRR and 
SIR. While these ten threats did not rank highly in their contribution 
to extinction risk, they do adversely affect the species.

[[Page 73227]]



Table 1--All Threats Considered by the BRT in Assessing Extinction Risks
   to the 82 Candidate Coral Species. The Table is Ordered by the BRT
  Estimate of the Threat's Importance to Extinction Risk for Corals in
   General. The Threat is Paired With its Corresponding ESA Section 4
   Factor in the Last Column. The Nine Threats Included in the Threats
                      Evaluation are Shown in bold.
 
 
 
 
 

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP07DE12.015

    While we received and collected numerous sources of information 
during the public engagement period pertaining to the 19 threats 
identified in the SRR, no new threats were identified, and no new 
information suggested changes to their relative importance. However, 
some of the new information is relevant to characterizing the important 
threats, particularly those related to Global Climate Change, and is 
included in the sections below.

Global Climate Change--General Overview

    Several of the most important threats contributing to the 
extinction risk of corals are related to global climate change. Thus, 
we provide a general overview of the state of the science related to 
climate change before discussing each threat and its specific impacts 
on corals. The main concerns regarding impacts of climate change on 
coral reefs generally, and on the 82 candidate coral species in 
particular, are the magnitude and the rapid pace of change in 
greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations (e.g., carbon dioxide) and 
atmospheric warming since the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th 
century. These changes are increasing the warming of the global climate 
system and altering the carbonate chemistry of the ocean (ocean 
acidification), which affects a number of biological processes in 
corals including secretion of their skeletons. The atmospheric 
concentration of the main GHG, carbon dioxide (CO2), has 
steadily increased from ~ 280 parts per million (ppm) at the start of 
the Industrial Revolution to over 390 ppm in 2009. Rates of human-
induced emissions of CO2 are also accelerating, rising from 
1.5 ppm/yr during 1990-1999 to 2.0 ppm/yr during 2000-2007. 
Furthermore, GHG emissions are expected to continue increasing and 
atmospheric and ocean warming are likely to accelerate. Moreover, 
because GHGs can remain in the atmosphere for exceptionally long 
periods of time, even if all anthropogenic sources of GHG emissions 
ceased immediately, at least another 1.0 [deg]C of atmospheric warming 
will occur as a result of past emissions, and at our current emissions 
rate, the earth's atmosphere is expected to warm 4 [deg]C (likely range 
2.4 [deg]C-6.4 [deg]C), and waters around coral reefs are expected to 
warm 2.8 [deg]C-3.6 [deg]C by the year 2100 (NMFS 2012b, SIR Section 
3.2.2). As discussed below, temperature increases of this magnitude can 
have severe consequences for corals, including bleaching and colony 
death.
    Supplemental information gathered during the public engagement 
period shows that global temperatures continue to increase and that 
temperature patterns differ regionally. New models (Representative 
Concentration Pathways or RCPs) developed for the Intergovernmental 
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (due to publish 
in 2014) result in a larger range of temperature estimates than the 
range of scenarios IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (Special Reports on 
Emission Scenarios or SRES), but the global mean temperature 
projections by the end of the twenty-first century for the RCPs are 
very similar to those of their closest SRES counterparts. Another study 
used the second-generation Canadian earth system model (CanESM2) to 
project future warming under three of the new RCPs and found simulated 
atmospheric warming of 2.3

[[Page 73228]]

[deg]C over the time period 1850-2100 in the lowest RCP emissions 
scenario (RCP2.6) and up to 4.9 [deg]C in the highest (RCP8.5; NMFS 
2012b, SIR Section 3.2.2).

Nine Most Important Threats to Reef-Building Corals

    As described above and shown in Table 1, the BRT considered nine 
threats to be the most important to the current or expected future 
extinction risk of reef-building corals: ocean warming, coral disease, 
ocean acidification, trophic effects of reef fishing, sedimentation, 
nutrients, sea-level rise, predation, and collection and trade. 
Vulnerability of a coral species to a threat is a function of 
susceptibility and exposure, considered at the appropriate spatial and 
temporal scales. In this finding, the spatial scale is the current 
range of the species, and the temporal scale is from now until the year 
2100. Susceptibility, exposure, and vulnerability are described 
generally below, and species-specific threat vulnerabilities are 
described in the Vulnerability to Threats under Risk Analyses below.
    Susceptibility refers to the response of coral colonies to the 
adverse conditions produced by the threat. Susceptibility of a coral 
species to a threat is primarily a function of biological processes and 
characteristics, and can vary greatly between and within taxa (i.e., 
family, genus, or species). Susceptibility depends on direct effects of 
the threat on the species, and it also depends on the cumulative (i.e., 
additive) and interactive (i.e., synergistic or antagonistic) effects 
of multiple threats acting simultaneously on the species. For example, 
ocean warming affects coral colonies through the direct effect of 
bleaching, together with the interactive effect of bleaching and 
disease, because bleaching increases disease susceptibility. We discuss 
how cumulative and interactive effects of threats affected individual 
threat susceptibilities in the Vulnerability to Threats under Risk 
Analyses section below.
    Vulnerability of a coral species to a threat also depends on the 
proportion of colonies that are exposed to the threat. Exposure is 
primarily a function of physical processes and characteristics that 
limit or moderate the impact of the threat across the range of the 
species. For example, prevailing winds may moderate exposure of coral 
colonies on windward sides of islands to ocean warming, tidal 
fluctuations may moderate exposure of coral colonies on reef flats to 
ocean acidification, and large distances of atolls from runoff may 
moderate exposure of the atoll's coral colonies from sedimentation.
    Vulnerability of a coral species to a threat is a function of 
susceptibility and exposure, considered at the spatial scale of the 
entire current range of the species, and the temporal scale of from now 
to the year 2100. For example, a species that is highly susceptible to 
a threat is not necessarily highly vulnerable to the threat, if 
exposure is low over the appropriate spatial and temporal scales. 
Consideration of the appropriate spatial (range of species) and 
temporal (to 2100) scales is particularly important, because of high 
variability in the threats over the large spatial scales, and the 
predictions in the SRR that nearly all threats are likely to increase 
over the large temporal scale. The nine most important threats are 
summarized below, including general descriptions of susceptibility and 
exposure. Species-specific threat vulnerabilities are described in the 
Vulnerability to Threats under the Risk Analyses section.

Ocean Warming (High Importance Threat, ESA Factor E)

    Ocean warming is considered under ESA Factor E--other natural or 
manmade factors affecting the continued existence of the species--
because the effect of the threat results from human activity and 
affects individuals of the species directly, and not their habitats. 
Mean seawater temperatures in reef-building coral habitat in both the 
Caribbean and Indo-Pacific have increased during the past few decades, 
and are predicted to continue to rise between now and 2100. More 
importantly, the frequency of warm-season temperature extremes (warming 
events) in reef-building coral habitat in both the Caribbean and Indo-
Pacific has increased during the past two decades, and is also 
predicted to increase between now and 2100.
    Ocean warming is one of the most important threats posing 
extinction risks to the 82 candidate coral species; however, individual 
susceptibility varies among species. The primary observable coral 
response to ocean warming is bleaching of adult coral colonies, wherein 
corals expel their symbiotic zooxanthellae in response to stress. For 
corals, an episodic increase of only 1[deg]C-2[deg]C above the normal 
local seasonal maximum ocean temperature can induce bleaching. Corals 
can withstand mild to moderate bleaching; however, severe, repeated, or 
prolonged bleaching can lead to colony death. While coral bleaching 
patterns are complex, with several species exhibiting seasonal cycles 
in symbiotic dinoflagellate density, thermal stress has led to 
bleaching and associated mass mortality in many coral species during 
the past 25 years. In addition to coral bleaching, other effects of 
ocean warming detrimentally affect virtually every life-history stage 
in reef-building corals. Impaired fertilization, developmental 
abnormalities, mortality, impaired settlement success, and impaired 
calcification of early life phases have all been documented.
    In evaluating extinction risk from ocean warming, the BRT relied 
heavily on the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report because the analyses and 
synthesis of information developed for it are the most thoroughly 
documented and reviewed assessments of future climate and represent the 
best available scientific information on potential future changes in 
the earth's climate system. Emission rates in recent years have met or 
exceeded levels found in the worst-case scenarios considered by the 
IPCC, resulting in all scenarios underestimating the projected climate 
condition. Further, newer studies have become available since the 
completion of the SRR. New information suggests that regardless of the 
emission concentration pathway, more than 97 percent of reefs will 
experience severe thermal stress by 2050. However, new information also 
highlights the spatial and temporal ``patchiness'' of warming, as 
described in the next paragraph. This patchiness has the potential to 
provide refugia for the species from thermal stress if the temperature 
patches are spatially and temporally consistent, but the distributional 
nature of the patchiness is not currently well understood (NMFS 2012b, 
SIR Section 3.2.2).
    Spatially, exposure of colonies of a species to ocean warming can 
vary greatly across its range, depending on colony location (e.g., 
latitude, depth, bathymetry, habitat type, etc.) and physical processes 
that affect seawater temperature and its effects on coral colonies 
(e.g., winds, currents, upwelling shading, tides, etc.). Colony 
location can moderate exposure of colonies of the species to ocean 
warming by latitude or depth, because colonies in higher latitudes and/
or deeper areas are usually less affected by warming events. Also, some 
locations are blocked from warm currents by bathymetric features, and 
some habitat types reduce the effects of warm water, such as highly-
fluctuating environments. Physical processes can moderate exposure of 
colonies of the species to ocean warming in many ways, including 
processes that increase mixing (e.g., wind, currents, tides),

[[Page 73229]]

reduce seawater temperature (e.g., upwelling, runoff), or increase 
shading (e.g. turbidity, cloud cover). For example, warming events in 
Hawaii in 1996 and 2002 resulted in variable levels of coral bleaching 
because colony exposure was strongly affected by winds, cloud cover, 
complex bathymetry, waves, and inshore currents (NMFS 2012b, SIR 
Section 3.2.2).
    Temporally, exposure of colonies of a species to ocean warming 
between now and 2100 will likely vary annually and decadally, while 
increasing over time, because: (1) Numerous annual and decadal 
processes that affect seawater temperatures will continue to occur in 
the future (e.g., inter-decadal variability in seawater temperatures 
and upwelling related to El-Ni[ntilde]o Southern Oscillation); and (2) 
ocean warming is predicted to substantially worsen by 2100. While 
exposure of the 82 candidate coral species to ocean warming varies 
greatly both spatially and temporally, exposure is expected to increase 
for all species across their ranges between now and 2100 (NMFS 2012b, 
SIR Section 3.2.2).
    Multiple threats stress corals simultaneously or sequentially, 
whether the effects are cumulative (the sum of individual stresses) or 
interactive (e.g., synergistic or antagonistic). Ocean warming is 
likely to interact with many other threats, especially considering the 
long-term consequences of repeated thermal stress, and ocean warming is 
expected to continue to worsen over the foreseeable future. Increased 
seawater temperature interacts with coral diseases to reduce coral 
health and survivorship. Coral disease outbreaks often have either 
accompanied or immediately followed bleaching events, and also follow 
seasonal patterns of high seawater temperatures. The effects of greater 
ocean warming (i.e., increased bleaching, which kills or weakens 
colonies) are expected to interact with the effects of higher storm 
intensity (i.e., increased breakage of dead or weakened colonies) in 
the Caribbean, resulting in an increased rate of coral declines. 
Likewise, ocean acidification and nutrients may reduce thermal 
thresholds to bleaching, increase mortality and slowing recovery.
    There is also mounting evidence that warming ocean temperatures can 
have direct impacts on early life stages of corals, including abnormal 
embryonic development at 32[deg]C and complete fertilization failure at 
34[deg]C for one Indo-Pacific Acropora species. In addition to abnormal 
embryonic development, symbiosis establishment, larval survivorship, 
and settlement success have been shown to be impaired in Caribbean 
brooding and broadcasting coral species at temperatures as low as 
30[deg]C-32[deg]C. Further, the rate of larval development for spawning 
species is appreciably accelerated at warmer temperatures, which 
suggests that total dispersal distances could also be reduced, 
potentially decreasing the likelihood of successful settlement and the 
potential for replenishment of extirpated areas.
    Finally, warming is and will continue causing increased 
stratification of the upper ocean, because water density decreases with 
increasing temperature. Increased stratification results in decreased 
vertical mixing of both heat and nutrients, leaving surface waters 
warmer and nutrient-poor. While the implications for corals and coral 
reefs of these increases in warming-induced stratification have not 
been well studied, it is likely that these changes will both exacerbate 
the temperature effects described above (i.e., increase bleaching and 
decrease recovery) and decrease the overall net productivity of coral 
reef ecosystems (i.e., fewer nutrients) throughout the tropics and 
subtropics.
    Overall, there is ample evidence that climate change (including 
that which is already committed to occur from past GHG emissions and 
that which is reasonably certain to result from continuing and future 
emissions) will follow a trajectory that will have a major impact on 
corals. If many coral species are to survive anticipated global 
warming, corals and their zooxanthellae will have to undergo 
significant acclimatization and/or adaptation. There has been a recent 
research emphasis on the processes of acclimatization and adaptation in 
corals, but, taken together, the body of research is inconclusive on 
how these processes may affect individual corals' extinction risk, 
given the projected intensity and rate of ocean warming (NMFS 2012b, 
SIR Section 3.2.2.1). In determining extinction risk for the 82 
candidate coral species, the BRT was most strongly influenced by 
observations that corals have been bleaching and dying under ocean 
warming that has already occurred. Thus, the BRT determined that ocean 
warming and related impacts of global climate change are already having 
serious negative impacts on many corals, and that ocean warming is one 
of the most important threats posing extinction risks to the 82 
candidate coral species between now and the year 2100 (Brainard et al. 
2011). These conclusions are reinforced by the new information in the 
SIR (NMFS 2012b, SIR Section 3.2.2.1).

Disease (High Importance Threat, ESA Factor C)

    Disease is considered under ESA Factor C--disease or predation. 
Disease adversely affects various coral life history events, including 
causing adult mortality, reducing sexual and asexual reproductive 
success, and impairing colony growth. A diseased state results from a 
complex interplay of factors including the cause or agent (e.g., 
pathogen, environmental toxicant), the host, and the environment. In 
the case of corals, the host is a complex community of organisms, 
referred to as a holobiont, which includes the coral animal, the 
dinoflagellates, and their microbial symbionts. All impacts 
incorporated and ranked as ``coral disease'' in this status review are 
presumed infectious diseases or those attributable to poorly-described 
genetic defects and often associated with acute tissue loss. Other 
manifestations of disease in the broader sense, such as coral bleaching 
from ocean warming, are incorporated under other factors (i.e., manmade 
factors such as ocean warming as a result of climate change).
    Coral diseases are a common and significant threat affecting most 
or all coral species and regions to some degree, although the 
scientific understanding of individual disease causes in corals remains 
very poor. The incidence of coral disease appears to be expanding 
geographically in the Indo-Pacific and there is evidence that massive 
coral species are not recovering from disease events in certain 
locations. The prevalence of disease is highly variable between sites 
and species. There is documented increased prevalence and severity of 
diseases with increased water temperatures, which may correspond to 
increased virulence of pathogens, decreased resistance of hosts, or 
both. Moreover, the expanding coral disease threat has been suggested 
to result from opportunistic pathogens that become damaging only in 
situations where the host integrity is compromised by physiological 
stress and/or immune suppression. Overall, there is mounting evidence 
that warming temperatures and coral bleaching responses are linked 
(albeit with mixed correlations) with increased coral disease 
prevalence and mortality. Complex aspects of temperature regimes, 
including winter and summer extremes, may influence disease outbreaks. 
Bleaching and coral abundance seem to increase the susceptibility of 
corals to disease contraction. Further, most recent research shows 
strong correlations between elevated human population

[[Page 73230]]

density in close proximity to reefs and disease prevalence in corals.
    Although disease causes in corals remain poorly understood, some 
general patterns of biological susceptibility are beginning to emerge. 
There appear to be predictable patterns of immune capacity across coral 
families, corresponding with trade-offs with their life history traits, 
such as reproductive output and growth rate. Acroporidae, representing 
the largest number of candidate species, has low immunity to disease. 
Likewise, Pocilloporidae has low immunity; however, both of these 
families have intermediate/high reproductive outputs. Both Faviidae and 
Mussidae are intermediate to high in terms of disease immunity and 
reproductive output. Finally, while Poritidae has high immunity to 
disease, it has a low reproductive output. Overall, disease represents 
a high importance threat in terms of extinction risk posed to coral 
species; however, individual susceptibility varies among the 82 
candidate species.
    As with ocean warming, the effects of coral disease depend on 
exposure of the species to the threat, which can vary spatially across 
the range of the species, and temporally between now and 2100. 
Spatially, exposure to coral disease in the Caribbean is moderated by 
distance of some coral habitats from the primary causes of most disease 
outbreaks, such as stressors resulting from sedimentation, nutrient 
over-enrichment, and other local threats. Exposure to coral disease for 
some species in the Indo-Pacific may be somewhat more moderated 
spatially than in the Caribbean, due to a greater proportion of reef-
building coral habitats located in remote areas that are much farther 
away from local sources of disease outbreaks. Exposure to coral disease 
can also be moderated by depth of many habitats in both regions, but 
again more so in the Indo-Pacific than in the Caribbean. Deep habitats 
are generally less affected by disease outbreaks associated with 
stressors resulting from ocean warming, especially in the Indo-Pacific. 
Disease exposure in remote areas and deep habitats appears to be low 
but gradually increasing. Temporally, exposure to coral disease will 
increase as the causes of disease outbreaks (e.g., warming events) 
increase over time (NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 3.3.2).
    As explained above, disease may be caused by a threat such as ocean 
warming and bleaching, nutrients, toxins, etc. However, interactive 
effects are also important for this threat, because diseased colonies 
are more susceptible to the effects of some other threats. For example, 
diseased or recovering colonies may be more quickly stressed than 
healthy colonies by land-based sources of pollution (sedimentation, 
nutrients, and toxins), more quickly succumb to predators, and more 
easily break during storms or as a result of other physical impacts. 
There are likely many other examples of cumulative and interactive 
effects of disease with other threats to corals.

Ocean Acidification (Medium-High Importance Threat, ESA Factor E)

    Ocean acidification is considered under ESA Factor E--other natural 
or manmade factors affecting the continued existence of the species--
because the effect is a result of human activity and affects 
individuals of the coral species, not their habitats. As with ocean 
warming, ocean acidification is a result of global climate change 
caused by increased GHG accumulation in the atmosphere. Reef-building 
corals produce skeletons made of the aragonite form of calcium 
carbonate; thus, reductions in aragonite saturation state caused by 
ocean acidification pose a major threat to these species and other 
marine calcifiers. Ocean acidification has the potential to cause 
substantial reduction in coral calcification and reef cementation. 
Further, ocean acidification adversely affects adult growth rates and 
fecundity, fertilization, pelagic planula settlement, polyp 
development, and juvenile growth. The impacts of ocean acidification 
can lead to increased colony breakage and fragmentation and mortality. 
Based on observations in areas with naturally low pH, the effects of 
increasing ocean acidification may also include potential reductions in 
coral size, cover, diversity, and structural complexity.
    As CO2 concentrations increase in the atmosphere, more 
CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, causing lower pH and reduced 
availability of carbonate ions, which in turn results in lower 
aragonite saturation state in seawater. Because of the increase in 
CO2 and other GHGs in the atmosphere since the Industrial 
Revolution, ocean acidification has already occurred throughout the 
world's oceans, including in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific, and is 
predicted to considerably worsen between now and 2100. Along with ocean 
warming and disease, the BRT considered ocean acidification to be one 
of the most important threats posing extinction risks to coral species 
between now and the year 2100; however, individual susceptibility 
varies among the 82 candidate species.
    Numerous laboratory and field experiments have shown a relationship 
between elevated CO2 and decreased calcification rates in 
particular corals and other calcium carbonate secreting organisms. 
However, because only a few species have been tested for such effects, 
it is uncertain how most will fare in increasingly acidified oceans. In 
addition to laboratory studies, recent field studies have demonstrated 
a decline in linear growth rates of some coral species, suggesting that 
ocean acidification is already significantly reducing growth of corals 
on reefs. However, this has not been shown for all corals at all reefs, 
indicating that all corals may not be affected at the same rate or that 
local factors may be ameliorating the saturation states on reefs. A 
potential secondary effect is that ocean acidification may reduce the 
threshold at which bleaching occurs. Overall, the best available 
information demonstrates that most corals exhibit declining 
calcification rates with rising CO2 concentrations, 
declining pH, and declining carbonate saturation state--although the 
rate and mode of decline can vary among species. Recent publications 
also discuss the physiological effects of ocean acidification on corals 
and their responses. Corals are able to regulate pH within their 
tissues, maintaining higher pH values in their tissues than the pH of 
surrounding waters. This is an important mechanism in naturally highly 
fluctuating environments (e.g., many backreef pools have diurnally 
fluctuating pH) and suggests that corals have some adaptive capacity to 
acidification. However, as with ocean warming, there is high 
uncertainty as to whether corals will be able to adapt commensurate 
with the rate of acidification.
    In addition to the direct effects on coral calcification and 
growth, ocean acidification may also affect coral recruitment, reef 
cementation, and other important reef-building species like crustose 
coralline algae (CCA). Studies suggest that the low pH associated with 
ocean acidification may impact coral larvae in several ways, including 
reduced survival and recruitment. Ocean acidification may influence 
settlement of coral larvae on coral reefs more by indirect alterations 
of the benthic community, which provides settlement cues, than by 
direct physiological disruption. A major potential impact from ocean 
acidification is a reduction in the structural stability of corals and 
reefs, which results both from increases in bioerosion and decreases in 
reef cementation. As atmospheric CO2 rises globally, reef-
building corals are

[[Page 73231]]

expected to calcify more slowly and become more fragile. Increased 
bioerosion of coral reefs from ocean acidification may be facilitated 
by declining growth rates of CCA. Recent studies demonstrate that ocean 
acidification is likely having a great impact on corals and reef 
communities by affecting community composition and dynamics, 
exacerbating the effects of disease and other stressors (e.g., 
temperature), contributing to habitat loss, and affecting symbiotic 
function. Some studies have found that an atmospheric CO2 
level twice as high as pre-industrial levels will start to dissolve 
coral reefs; this level could be reached as early as the middle of this 
century. Further, the rate of acidification may be an order of 
magnitude faster than what occurred 55 million years ago during the 
Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (Brainard et al. 2011; NMFS, 2012b, 
SIR Section 3.2.3).
    Spatially, while CO2 levels in the surface waters of the 
ocean are generally in equilibrium with the lower atmosphere, there can 
be considerable variability in seawater pH across reef-building coral 
habitats, resulting in colonies of a species experiencing high spatial 
variability in exposure to ocean acidification. The spatial variability 
in seawater pH occurs from reef to global scales, driven by numerous 
physical and biological characteristics and processes, including at 
least seawater temperature, proximity to land-based runoff and seeps, 
proximity to sources of oceanic CO2, salinity, nutrients, 
photosynthesis, and respiration. CO2 absorption is higher in 
colder water, causing lower pH in colder water. Land-based runoff 
decreases salinity and increases nutrients, both of which can raise pH. 
Local sources of oceanic CO2 like upwelling and volcanic 
seeps lower pH. Photosynthesis in algae and seagrass beds draws down 
CO2, raising pH. These are just some of the sources of 
spatial variability in pH, which results in high spatial variability in 
ocean acidification across the ranges of the 82 species (NMFS, 2012b, 
SIR Section 3.2.3).
    Temporally, high variability over diurnal to decadal time-scales is 
produced by numerous processes, including diurnal cycles of 
photosynthesis and respiration, seasonal variability in seawater 
temperatures, and decadal cycles in upwelling. Temporal variability in 
pH can be very high diurnally in highly-fluctuating or semi-enclosed 
habitats such as reef flats and back-reef pools, due to high 
photosynthesis during the day (pH goes up) and high respiration during 
the night (pH goes down). In fact, pH fluctuations during one 24-hr 
period in such reef-building coral habitats can exceed the magnitude of 
change expected by 2100 in open ocean subtropical and tropical waters. 
As with spatial variability in exposure to ocean warming, temporal 
variability in exposure to ocean acidification is a combination of high 
variability over short time-scales together with long-term increases. 
While exposure of the 82 candidate coral species to ocean acidification 
varies greatly both spatially and temporally, exposure is expected to 
increase for all species across their ranges between now and 2100 
(NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 3.2.3).
    Acidification is likely to interact with other threats, especially 
considering that acidification is expected to continue to worsen over 
the foreseeable future. For example, acidification may reduce the 
threshold at which bleaching occurs, increasing the threat posed by 
ocean warming. One of the key impacts of acidification is reduced 
calcification, resulting in reduced skeletal growth and skeletal 
density, which may lead to numerous interactive effects with other 
threats. Reduced skeletal growth compromises the ability of coral 
colonies to compete for space against algae, which grows more quickly 
as nutrient over-enrichment increases. Reduced skeletal density weakens 
coral skeletons, resulting in greater colony breakage from natural and 
human-induced physical damage.

Trophic Effects of Fishing (Medium Importance Threat, ESA Factor A)

    Trophic effects of fishing is considered under ESA Factor A--the 
present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its 
habitat or range--because the main effect of concern is to limit 
availability of habitat for corals. Fishing, particularly overfishing, 
can have large scale, long-term ecosystem-level effects that can change 
ecosystem structure from coral-dominated reefs to algal-dominated reefs 
(``phase shifts''). Fishing pressure alters trophic interactions that 
are particularly important in structuring coral reef ecosystems. These 
trophic interactions include reducing population abundance of 
herbivorous fish species that control algal growth, limiting the size 
structure of fish populations, reducing species richness of herbivorous 
fish, and releasing corallivores from predator control. Thus, an 
important aspect of maintaining resilience in coral reef ecosystems is 
to sustain populations of herbivores, especially the larger scarine 
herbivorous wrasses such as parrotfish.
    On topographically complex reefs, population densities can average 
well over a million herbivorous fishes per km\2\, and standing stocks 
can reach 45 metric tons per km\2\. In the Caribbean, parrotfishes can 
graze at rates of more than 150,000 bites per square meter per day, and 
thereby remove up to 90-100 percent of the daily primary production 
(e.g., algae). Under these conditions of topographic complexity with 
substantial populations of herbivorous fishes, as long as the cover of 
living coral is high and resistant to mortality from environmental 
changes, it is very unlikely that the algae will take over and dominate 
the substratum. However, if herbivorous fish populations, particularly 
large-bodied parrotfish, are heavily fished and a major mortality of 
coral colonies occurs, then algae can grow rapidly and prevent the 
recovery of the coral population. The ecosystem can then collapse into 
an alternative stable state, a persistent phase shift in which algae 
replace corals as the dominant reef species. Although algae can have 
negative effects on adult coral colonies (i.e., overgrowth, bleaching 
from toxic compounds), the ecosystem-level effects of algae are 
primarily from inhibited coral recruitment. Filamentous algae can 
prevent the colonization of the substratum by planula larvae by 
creating sediment traps that obstruct access to a hard substratum for 
attachment. Additionally, macroalgae can suppress the successful 
colonization of the substratum by corals through occupation of the 
available space, shading, abrasion, chemical poisoning, and infection 
with bacterial disease.
    Overfishing can have further impacts on coral mortality via trophic 
cascades. In general larger fish are targeted, resulting in fish 
populations of small individuals. For parrotfishes, the effect of 
grazing by individuals greater than 20 cm in length is substantially 
greater than that of smaller fish. Up to 75 individual parrotfishes 
with lengths of about 15 cm are necessary to have the same effect on 
reducing algae and promoting coral recruitment as a single individual 
35 cm in length. Species richness of the herbivorous fish population is 
also necessary to enhance coral populations. Because of differences in 
their feeding behaviors, several species of herbivorous fishes with 
complementary feeding behaviors can have a substantially greater 
positive effect than a similar biomass of a single species on reducing 
the standing stock of macroalgae, of increasing the cover of CCA, and 
increasing live coral cover.
    Spatially, exposure to the trophic effects of fishing in the 
Caribbean is

[[Page 73232]]

moderated by distance of some coral habitats from fishing effort. 
Exposure to the trophic effects of fishing in the Indo-Pacific is 
somewhat more moderated by distance than in the Caribbean, due to a 
greater proportion of reef-building coral habitats located in remote 
areas that are much farther away from fishing effort. Exposure to the 
trophic effects of reef fishing is also moderated by depth of many 
habitats in both regions, but again more so in the Indo-Pacific than in 
the Caribbean. Deep habitats are generally less affected by the trophic 
effects of fishing especially in the Indo-Pacific. Temporally, exposure 
to the trophic effects of fishing will increase as the human population 
increases over time (NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 3.3.4).
    The trophic effects of fishing are likely to interact with many 
other threats, especially considering that fishing impacts are likely 
to increase within the ranges of many of the 82 species over the 
foreseeable future. For example, when carnivorous fishes are 
overfished, corallivore populations may increase, resulting in greater 
predation on corals. Further, overfishing appears to increase the 
frequency of coral disease. Fishing activity usually targets the larger 
apex predators. When the predators are removed, corallivorous butterfly 
fishes become more abundant and can transmit disease from one coral 
colony to another as they transit and consume from each coral colony. 
With increasing abundance, they transmit disease to higher proportions 
of the corals within the population.

Sedimentation (Low-Medium Importance Threat, ESA Factors A and E)

    Sedimentation is considered under ESA Factor A--the present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or 
range--and ESA Factor E--other natural or manmade factors affecting the 
continued existence of the species--because the effect of the threat, 
resulting from human activity, is both to limit the availability of 
habitat for corals and directly impact individuals of coral species. 
Impacts from land-based sources of pollution include sedimentation, 
nutrients, toxicity, contaminants, and changes in salinity regimes. The 
BRT evaluated the extinction risk posed by each pollution component 
individually. Only the stressors of sedimentation and nutrients were 
considered low-medium threats to corals, although the 82 candidate 
species vary in susceptibility. The BRT considered contaminants, 
despite their primarily local sources and impacts, to pose low, but not 
negligible, extinction risks, and salinity effects to be a local and 
negligible overall contributor to extinction risk to the 82 candidate 
coral species; however, individual species vary in susceptibility. All 
four threats associated with land-based sources of pollution are 
described in the SRR, and sedimentation and nutrients are considered 
separately below. Human activities in coastal watersheds introduce 
sediment into the ocean by a variety of mechanisms, including river 
discharge, surface runoff, groundwater seeps, and atmospheric 
deposition. Humans introduce sewage into coastal waters through direct 
discharge, treatment plants, and septic leakage; agricultural runoff 
brings additional nutrients from fertilizers. Elevated sediment levels 
are generated by poor land use practices, and coastal and nearshore 
construction. Additionally, as coastal populations continue to 
increase, it is likely that pollution from land-based sources will also 
increase.
    The most common direct effect of sedimentation is deposition of 
sediment on coral surfaces as sediment settles out from the water 
column. Corals with certain morphologies (e.g., mounding) can passively 
reject settling sediments. In addition, corals can actively displace 
sediment by ciliary action or mucous production, both of which require 
energetic expenditures. Corals with large calices (skeletal component 
that holds the polyp) tend to be better at actively rejecting sediment. 
Some coral species can tolerate complete burial for several days. 
Corals that are unsuccessful in removing sediment will be smothered and 
die. Sediment can also induce sublethal effects, such as reductions in 
tissue thickness, polyp swelling, zooxanthellae loss, and excess mucus 
production. In addition, suspended sediment can reduce the amount of 
light in the water column, making less energy available for coral 
photosynthesis and growth. Finally, sediment impedes fertilization of 
spawned gametes and reduces larval settlement, as well as the survival 
of recruits and juveniles.
    Although it is difficult to quantitatively predict the extinction 
risk that sedimentation poses to the 82 candidate coral species, human 
activity has resulted in quantifiable increases in sediment inputs in 
some reef areas. Continued increases in coastal populations combined 
with poor land use and nearshore development practices will likely 
increase sediment delivery to reef systems. Nearshore sediment levels 
will also likely increase with sea level rise. Greater inundation of 
reef flats can erode soil at the shoreline and resuspend lagoon 
deposits, producing greater sediment transport and potentially leading 
to leeward reefs being flooded with turbid lagoon waters or buried by 
off-bank sediment transport. Finally, while some corals may be more 
tolerant of elevated short-term levels of sedimentation, sediment 
stress and turbidity can induce bleaching. Sedimentation is a low-
medium importance threat of extinction risk to corals; however, 
individual susceptibility varies among the 82 candidate species.
    The BRT acknowledged that individual land-based sources of 
pollution interact in complex ways, and therefore also considered the 
holistic nature of this type of threat (i.e., sedimentation, nutrient 
over-enrichment, and contaminants). All land-based sources of pollution 
act primarily at a local level and have direct linkage to human 
population, consumption of resources, and land use within the local 
area. This linkage is supported by correlative and retrospective 
studies of both threat dosage of and coral response to land-based 
sources of pollution. Therefore, land-based sources of pollution would 
pose a substantial extinction risk only to species with extremely 
limited distributions. However, local stresses can still be 
sufficiently severe to cause local extirpation and interact with global 
stresses to increase extinction risk.
    Spatially, exposure to sedimentation in the Caribbean can be 
moderated by distance of some coral habitats from areas where 
sedimentation is chronically or sporadically heavy (i.e., heavily 
populated areas), resulting in some areas of coral habitats being 
unaffected or very lightly affected by sedimentation. Exposure to 
sedimentation can be more moderated in the Indo-Pacific by the large 
distances of many coral habitats from areas where sedimentation is 
chronically or sporadically heavy (i.e., heavily populated areas), 
resulting in vast areas of coral habitats and areas being unaffected or 
very lightly affected by sedimentation. Exposure to sedimentation for 
particular species could also be moderated by depth of many habitats in 
both regions, but again more so in the Indo-Pacific than in the 
Caribbean. Deep habitats are generally less affected by sedimentation, 
especially in the Indo-Pacific. Temporally, exposure to sedimentation 
will increase as human activities that produce sedimentation increase 
over time, but in the Indo-Pacific will still be strongly moderated for 
certain species by distance (NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 3.3.1).

[[Page 73233]]

    Sedimentation is also likely to interact with many other threats, 
especially considering that sedimentation is likely to increase across 
the ranges of many of the 82 species over the foreseeable future. For 
example, when coral communities that are chronically affected by 
sedimentation experience a warming-induced bleaching event and 
associated disease outbreaks, the consequences for corals can be much 
more severe than in communities not affected by sedimentation.

Nutrients (Low-Medium Importance Threat, ESA Factors A and E)

    Nutrient enrichment is considered under ESA Factor A--the present 
or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat 
or range--and ESA Factor E--other natural or manmade factors affecting 
the continued existence of the species--because the effect of the 
threat, resulting from human activity, is both to limit the 
availability of habitat for corals and directly impact individuals of 
coral species. The impacts of nutrient over-enrichment were determined 
by the BRT to be of low-medium importance in terms of posing extinction 
risk to coral species; however, individual susceptibility varies among 
the 82 candidate species. Elevated nutrients affect corals through two 
main mechanisms--direct impacts on coral physiology and indirect 
effects through nutrient-stimulation of other community components 
(e.g., macroalgal turfs and seaweeds, and filter feeders) that compete 
with corals for space on the reef. Increased nutrients can decrease 
calicification; however, nutrients may also enhance linear extension, 
but reduce skeletal density. Either condition results in corals that 
are more prone to breakage or erosion. Notably, individual species have 
varying tolerance to increased nutrients. The main vectors of 
anthropogenic nutrients are point-source discharges (such as rivers or 
sewage outfalls) and surface runoff from modified watersheds. Natural 
processes, such as in situ nitrogen fixation and delivery of nutrient-
rich deep water by internal waves and upwelling, bring nutrients to 
coral reefs as well. Nutrient over-enrichment has low-medium importance 
to the extinction risk of all 82 corals species.
    Spatially, exposure to nutrients is moderated by distance of some 
coral habitats from areas where nutrients are chronically or 
sporadically heavy (i.e., heavily populated areas). However, nutrient 
over-enrichment can result from very small human populations, and 
nutrients can be quickly transported large distances; thus, distance is 
less of a moderating factor for nutrients than for sedimentation. 
Similarly, although nutrient exposure may also be moderated by depth of 
some habitats, nutrient impacts can reach much farther than 
sedimentation impacts. Temporally, exposure to nutrients will increase 
as human activities that produce nutrients increase over time (NMFS, 
2012b, SIR Section 3.3.1).
    Nutrients are likely to interact with many other threats, 
especially considering that nutrient over-enrichment is likely to 
increase across the ranges of many of the 82 candidate species over the 
foreseeable future. For example, when coral communities that are 
chronically affected by nutrients experience a warming-induced 
bleaching event and associated disease outbreaks, the consequences for 
corals can be much more severe than in communities not affected by 
nutrients.

Sea-Level Rise (Low-Medium Threat, ESA Factor A)

    Sea-level rise is considered under ESA Factor A--the present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or 
range--because the effect of the threat is to availability of corals' 
habitat and not directly to the species themselves. The effects of sea-
level rise may affect various coral life history events, including 
larval settlement, polyp development, and juvenile growth, and 
contribute to adult mortality and colony fragmentation, mostly due to 
increased sedimentation and decreased water quality (reduced light 
availability) caused by coastal inundation. The best available 
information suggests that sea level will continue to rise due to 
thermal expansion and the melting of land and sea ice. Theoretically, 
any rise in sea-level could potentially provide additional habitat for 
corals living near the sea surface. Many corals that inhabit the 
relatively narrow zone near the ocean surface have rapid growth rates 
when healthy, which allowed them to keep up with sea-level rise during 
the past periods of rapid climate change associated with deglaciation 
and warming. However, depending on the rate and amount of sea level 
rise, rapid rises can lead to reef drowning. Rapid rises in sea level 
could affect many of the candidate coral species by both submerging 
them below their common depth range and, more likely, by degrading 
water quality through coastal erosion and potentially severe 
sedimentation or enlargement of lagoons and shelf areas. Rising sea 
level is likely to cause mixed responses in the 82 candidate coral 
species depending on their depth preferences, sedimentation tolerances, 
growth rates, and the nearshore topography. Reductions in growth rate 
due to local stressors, bleaching, infectious disease, and ocean 
acidification may prevent the species from keeping up with sea level 
rise (e.g., from growing at a rate that will allow them to continue to 
occupy their preferred depth range despite sea-level rise).
    The rate and amount of future sea level rise remains uncertain. 
Until the past few years, sea level rise was predicted to be in the 
range of only about one half meter by 2100. However, more recent 
estimated rates are higher, based upon evidence that the Greenland and 
Antarctic ice sheets are much more vulnerable than previously thought. 
Hence, there is large variability in predictions of the sea-level rise, 
but the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report likely underestimated the rates.
    Fast-growing branching corals were able to keep up with the first 3 
m of sea level rise during the warming that led to the last 
interglacial period. However, whether the 82 candidate coral species 
will be able to survive 3 m or more of future sea level rise will 
depend on whether growth rates are reduced as a result of other risk 
factors, such as local environmental stressors, bleaching, infectious 
disease, and ocean acidification. Additionally, lack of suitable new 
habitat, limited success in sexual recruitment, coastal runoff, and 
coastal hardening will compound some corals' ability to survive rapid 
sea level rise.
    This threat is expected to disproportionately affect shallow areas 
adjacent to degraded coastlines, as inundation results in higher levels 
of sedimentation from the newly-inundated coastlines to the shallow 
areas. Spatially, exposure to sea-level rise will be moderated by 
horizontal and vertical distances of reef-building coral habitats from 
inundated, degraded coastlines. Temporally, exposure to sea-level rise 
will increase over time as the rate of rise increases (NMFS, 2012b, SIR 
Section 3.2.4).
    Sea-level rise is likely to interact with other threats, especially 
considering that sea-level rise is likely to increase across the ranges 
of the 82 candidate species over the foreseeable future. For example, 
the inundation of developed areas (e.g., urban and agricultural areas) 
and other areas where shoreline sediments are easily eroded by sea-
level rise is likely to degrade water quality of adjacent coral 
habitat, through increased sediment and nutrient runoff, and the 
potential release of toxic contamination.

[[Page 73234]]

Predation (Low Threat, ESA Factor C)

    Predation is considered under ESA Factor C--disease or predation. 
While the BRT ranked predation as having low importance to the 
extinction risk of corals in general, predation on some coral genera by 
many corallivorous species of fish and invertebrates (e.g., snails and 
seastars) is a chronic, though occasionally acute, energy drain. It is 
a threat that has been identified for most coral life stages. Thus, 
predation factored into the extinction risk analysis for each of the 82 
candidate species. Numerous studies have documented the quantitative 
impact of predation by various taxa on coral tissue and skeleton. 
Predators can indirectly affect the distribution of corals by 
preferentially consuming faster-growing coral species, thus allowing 
slower-growing corals to compete for space on the reef. The most 
notable example of predation impacts in the Indo-Pacific are from large 
aggregations of crown-of-thorns seastar (Acanthaster planci; COTS), 
termed outbreaks; the specific causative mechanism of COTS outbreaks is 
unknown. COTS can reduce living coral cover to less than one percent 
during outbreaks, change coral community structure, promote algal 
colonization, and affect fish population dynamics. Therefore, 
predation, although considered to be of low importance to the 
extinction risk of corals in general, can be significant to individual 
species.
    Spatially, exposure to predation by corallivores is moderated by 
presence of predators of the corallivores (i.e., predators of the 
predators). For example, corallivorous reef fish prey on corals, and 
piscivorous reef fish and sharks prey on the corallivores; thus, high 
abundances of piscivorous reef fish and sharks moderates coral 
predation. Abundances of piscivorous reef fish and sharks vary 
spatially because of different ecological conditions and human 
exploitation levels. Spatially, exposure to predation is also moderated 
by distance from physical conditions that allow corallivore populations 
to grow. For example, in the Indo-Pacific, high nutrient runoff from 
continents and high islands improves reproductive conditions for COTS, 
thus coral predation by COTS is moderated by distance from such 
conditions. Predation can also be moderated by depth of many habitats 
because abundances of many corallivorous species decline with depth. 
Temporally, exposure to predation will increase over time as conditions 
change, but will still be strongly moderated by distance and depth for 
certain species, depending upon the distribution and abundances of a 
species' populations, relative to this threat (NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 
3.3.3).
    Predation of coral colonies can increase the likelihood of the 
colonies being infected by disease, and likewise diseased colonies may 
be more likely to be preyed upon. There are likely other examples of 
cumulative and interactive effects of predation with other threats to 
corals.

Collection and Trade (Low Threat, ESA Factor B)

    Collections and trade is considered under ESA Factor B--
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. While the BRT ranked collection and trade as 
having low importance to the extinction risk of corals in general, 
particular species are preferentially affected; therefore, the BRT 
considered collection and trade when evaluating the extinction risk of 
individual species. Globally, 1.5 million live stony coral colonies are 
reported to be collected from at least 45 countries each year, with the 
United States consuming the largest portion of live corals (64 percent) 
and live rock (95 percent) for the aquarium trade. The imports of live 
corals taken directly from coral reefs (not from aquaculture) increased 
by 600 percent between 1988 and 2007, while the global trade in live 
coral increased by nearly 1,500 percent. Harvest of stony corals is 
usually highly destructive, and results in removing and discarding 
large amounts of live coral that go unsold and damaging reef habitats 
around live corals. While collection is a highly spatially focused 
impact, it can result in significant impacts and was considered to 
contribute to individual species' extinction risk.
    Spatially, exposure to collection and trade is moderated by demand, 
and can be moderated by distance and depth. Demand is highly species-
specific, resulting in variable levels of collection pressure. However, 
even for heavily-collected species, geographic and depth distributions 
strongly moderate collection because distance from land and depth 
create barriers to human access. Temporally, exposure to collection and 
trade may increase over time, but will still continue to be strongly 
moderated by demand, distance, and depth (NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 
3.3.6).
    Collection and trade of coral colonies can increase the likelihood 
of the colonies being infected by disease, due to both the directed and 
incidental breakage of colonies, which are then more easily infected. 
There are likely other examples of cumulative and interactive effects 
of collection and trade with other threats to corals.

Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms (ESA Factor D)

    As we previously described, the SRR does not assess the 
contribution of ``inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms'' to the 
extinction risk of corals. Therefore, we developed a Draft Management 
Report that identifies: (1) Existing regulatory mechanisms relevant to 
threats to the 82 candidate coral species; and (2) conservation efforts 
with regard to the status of the 82 candidate coral species. This Draft 
was peer reviewed and released with the SRR in April 2012, with a 
request for any information that we may have omitted. The information 
that we received was incorporated into the Final Management Report, 
which forms the basis of our evaluation of this factor's effect on the 
extinction risk of the 82 candidate coral species.
    The relevance of existing regulatory mechanisms to extinction risk 
for an individual species depends on the vulnerability of that species 
to each of the threats identified under the other factors of ESA 
Section 4, and the extent to which regulatory mechanisms could or do 
control the threats that are contributing to the species' extinction 
risk. If a species is not currently, and not expected within the 
foreseeable future to become, vulnerable to a particular threat, it is 
not necessary to evaluate the adequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms for addressing that threat. Conversely, if a species is 
vulnerable to a particular threat (now or in the foreseeable future), 
we do evaluate the adequacy of existing measures, if any, in 
controlling or mitigating that threat. In the following paragraphs, we 
will discuss existing regulatory mechanisms for addressing the threats 
to corals, generally, and assess their adequacy for controlling those 
threats. In the Risk Analyses section, we determine if the inadequacy 
of regulatory mechanisms is a contributing factor to an individual 
species' status as threatened or endangered because the existing 
regulatory mechanisms fail to adequately control or mitigate the 
underlying threats.
    As shown in Table 1 above, we identified 19 threats affecting all 
coral species in general. Of the 19 threats, ocean warming, coral 
disease, and ocean acidification are the most serious threats to coral 
species. As described in the SRR, the SIR and the Final Management 
Report, ocean warming and ocean acidification are directly linked, and 
disease is indirectly linked, to

[[Page 73235]]

increasing anthropogenic GHGs in the atmosphere. The 19 threats to the 
82 candidate coral species also include threats from more localized 
human activities, such as reef fishing, sedimentation, collection, 
physical damage, and other threats (see Table 1). The Final Management 
Report identifies existing regulatory mechanisms that are relevant to 
the threats to the 82 candidate coral species and is organized in two 
sections: (1) Existing regulatory mechanisms that are relevant to 
addressing global-scale threats to corals linked to GHG emissions; and 
(2) existing regulatory mechanisms that are relevant to addressing 
other threats to corals. A summary of the information in the report is 
provided below.
    GHG emissions are regulated through agreements, at the 
international level, and through statutes and regulations, at the 
national, state, or regional level. These two levels of regulation are 
interrelated because climate change is a global phenomenon in which 
emissions anywhere in the world mix in the global atmosphere. 
Reflecting this interdependency of nations, often the national laws are 
enacted as a result of commitments to international agreements. The 
information presented in the Management Report (NMFS, 2012c; Final 
Management Report, Section 2.1.3) suggests that existing regulatory 
mechanisms with the objective of reducing GHG emissions are inadequate 
to prevent the impacts to corals and coral reefs from ocean warming, 
ocean acidification, and other climate change-related threats described 
above.
    One of the key international agreements relevant to attempts to 
control GHG emissions, the Copenhagen Accord, was developed in 2009 by 
the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Conventions 
on Climate Change. The Copenhagen Accord identifies specific 
information provided by Parties on quantified economy-wide emissions 
targets for 2020 and on nationally appropriate mitigation actions to 
the goal of capping increasing average global temperature at 2 [deg]C 
above pre-industrial levels. Annex I countries are developed nations 
and Annex II countries are developing nations. In terms of coral reef 
protection, even if participating countries were reducing emissions 
enough and at a quick enough rate to meet the goal of capping 
increasing average global temperature at 2 [deg]C above pre-industrial 
levels, there would still be moderate to severe consequences for coral 
reef ecosystems. Tipping points analyses indicate that rising 
atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate change could lead 
to major biodiversity transformations at levels near or below the 2 
[deg]C global warming defined by the IPCC as ``dangerous,'' including 
widespread coral reef degradation (Leadley et al., 2010). While there 
will be spatial variation in climate warming throughout the globe, 
according to the SRR, at the current rate of CO2 emissions, 
a further temperature increase in waters around coral reefs of 2.8-3.6 
[deg]C is expected during this century, depending on the ocean basin. 
The global atmospheric CO2 concentration was up to 387 ppm 
by the end of 2009, 39% above the concentration at the start of the 
industrial revolution (about 280 ppm in 1750). The present 
concentration is the highest during at least the last 2 million years 
(Global Carbon Project, 2010). It has been estimated in some reports 
that atmospheric CO2 must be reduced to levels similar to 
those present in the 1970's (or below 340 ppm) to ensure healthy coral 
growth over the long term (Brainard et al., 2011).
    In addition to the insufficiency of the 2 [deg]C target (and the 
associated estimated peak in atmospheric CO2 concentration) 
in terms of preventing widespread damage to coral reefs, several 
analyses show that pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord are not 
sufficient to achieve even this target. Rogelj et al. (2010) state that 
higher ambitions for 2020 are necessary to keep the options for 2 [deg] 
and 1.5 [deg]C viable without relying on potentially infeasible 
reduction rates after 2020. According to the IPCC Fourth Assessment 
report, Annex I emission reduction targets of 25 to 40% below 1990 
levels in 2020 would be consistent with stabilizing long-term 
greenhouse gas concentration levels at 450 ppm CO2 
equivalent, which corresponds to 1.2 [deg] to 2.3 [deg]C in global 
warming over the next 100 years (Cubasch et al. 2001). The aggregated 
reduction target by 2020 of all Annex I pledges under the Copenhagen 
Accord ranges from 12 to 18% relative to the 1990 level which is 
insufficient to stabilize GHG concentrations and achieve the desired 
range of maximum warming (den Elzen and H[ouml]hne, 2008; Gupta et al., 
2007; Pew Center for Global Climate Change, 2010). Even in the high 
pledge scenario of the Copenhagen Accord, this reduction goal will not 
be met (den Elzen et al., 2010). Note, again, that even at this range 
of warming, full protection of coral reefs is probably not feasible 
(O'Neill and Oppenheimer, 2002). In terms of global emissions, 
Copenhagen Accord pledges of Annex I countries and the action plans of 
the seven major emerging economies would lead to a gap towards the 2 
[deg]C target of between 3 and 9 Gt CO2 equivalents (den 
Elzen et al., 2010; Light, 2010; UNEP, 2010c). Anticipated global 
efforts toward GHG emission reduction are unlikely to close this gap 
and may even be insufficient to prevent warming of 3 [deg]C or more 
(Parry, 2010). With or without this gap, studies indicate that steep 
emission reductions are needed post 2020 in order to maintain the 
feasibility of limiting warming to 2 [deg]C or 1.5 [deg]C (UNEP, 2010).
    The Climate Change Performance Index (Burck et al., 2010) evaluates 
and compares the climate protection performance of the top 60 GHG 
emitting countries that are together responsible for more than 90% of 
global energy-related CO2 emissions. Performance rankings 
are based on an index including emissions level, emissions trend, and 
national and international climate change policy in each country. Each 
year, the top three ranks are reserved for countries that have reduced 
per capita emissions enough to meet the requirements to keep the 
increase in global temperature below 2 [deg]C. According to the 2011 
report, no countries are meeting those criteria. Importantly, the 
performance of the top 10 emitters that account for over 60% of global 
emissions is of particular concern as all but three of them are ranked 
as either `poor' or `very poor' in overall performance (Burck et al., 
2010). In particular, the U.S. and China both contribute the largest 
proportions to global emissions and both have `very poor' ranks in the 
2011 Climate Change Performance Index. It is important to note that 
even the most aggressive actions to reduce emissions will only slow 
warming, not prevent it.
    The evidence presented here suggests that existing regulatory 
mechanisms at the global scale in the form of international agreements 
to reduce GHG emissions are insufficient to prevent widespread impacts 
to corals. It appears unlikely that Parties will be able to 
collectively achieve, in the near term, climate change avoidance goals 
outlined via international agreements. Additionally, none of the major 
global initiatives to date appear to be ambitious enough, even if all 
terms were met, to reduce GHG emissions to the level necessary to 
minimize impacts to coral reefs and prevent what are predicted to be 
severe consequences for corals worldwide.
    Existing regulatory mechanisms directly or indirectly addressing 
all of the localized threats identified in the SRR (i.e., those threats 
not related to GHGs and global climate change) are primarily national 
and local fisheries,

[[Page 73236]]

coastal, and watershed management laws and regulations in the 84 
countries within the collective ranges of the 82 coral species. Because 
of the large number of threats, and the immense number of regulatory 
mechanisms in the 84 countries, a regulation-by-regulation assessment 
of adequacy was not possible. Furthermore, there is not enough 
information available to determine the effects of specific regulatory 
mechanisms on individual coral species given the lack of information on 
specific locations of individual species. We have information on the 
overall distribution of the species from range maps and literature that 
identify particular locations where the species have been observed, but 
this information is not sufficient to do a species by species, 
regulation by regulation evaluation of inadequacy. However, general 
patterns include: (1) Fisheries management regimes regulate reef 
fishing in many parts of the collective ranges of the 82 candidate 
coral species albeit at varying levels of success; (2) laws addressing 
land-based sources of pollution are less effective than those 
regulating fisheries; (3) coral reef and coastal marine protected areas 
have increased several-fold in the last decade, reducing some threats 
through regulation or banning of fishing, coastal development, and 
other activities contributing to localized threats; and (4) the most 
effective regulatory mechanisms address the threats other than climate 
change, i.e., laws regulating destructive fishing practices, physical 
damage, and collection. Because the local threats have impacted and 
continue to impact corals across their ranges, we can generally 
conclude that, collectively, the existing regulations are not 
preventing or controlling local threats. However, we do not have 
sufficient information to determine if an individual species' 
extinction risk is increased or exacerbated by inadequacy of individual 
existing regulations.
    Based on the Final Management Report, we conclude that existing 
regulatory mechanisms for GHG emissions are inadequate to prevent 
threats related to GHG emissions from worsening anywhere within the 
range of the 82 candidate species and within the foreseeable future. 
These threats include the three most important threats to the 82 
candidate coral species: Bleaching from ocean warming, coral disease 
related to ocean warming, and ocean acidification. In the Risk Analyses 
section, we determine if the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms for GHG emissions is a contributing factor to an individual 
species' status as threatened or endangered because the existing 
regulatory mechanisms fail to adequately control or mitigate these 
three threats.

Risk Analyses

    We developed a Determination Tool to consistently interpret the 
information in the SRR, Final Management Report, and SIR, in order to 
produce proposed listing determinations for each of the 82 species. The 
Determination Tool provides a replicable method to distill relevant 
information that contributes to each species' extinction risk and 
listing status, and contains justifications for the assigned ranking 
for each factor for each species. Copies of the entire Determination 
Tool are available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html. The following discussion provides the basis and 
rationale for our development of the Determination Tool instead of 
directly assigning endangered, threatened, or not warranted status to 
the extinction risk determinations of the BRT.
    In the SRR, the BRT evaluated the status of each species, 
identified threats to the species corresponding to four of the five 
factors identified in ESA section 4(a)(1), and estimated the risk of 
extinction for each of the candidate species out to the year 2100. 
Predicting risk of absolute extinction (i.e., when there will be zero 
living members of a species) is extremely challenging. In typically 
clonal organisms like corals, where colonies can be very long-lived 
(many hundreds of years), a species may be functionally unviable long 
before the last colony dies. Further, problems associated with low 
density may render a species at severely elevated risk well before 
extinction. Rather than try to predict risk of absolute extinction, the 
BRT estimated the likelihood that a population would fall below a 
Critical Risk Threshold (CRT) within a specified period of time. The 
CRT was not quantitatively defined. Rather, the BRT defined the CRT as 
a condition where a species is of such low abundance, or so spatially 
disrupted, or at such reduced diversity, that the species is at 
extremely high risk of extinction with little chance for recovery (a 
condition we consider to be worse than ``endangered''; discussed 
below). Through a structured expert opinion process, the BRT assigned a 
category describing the likelihood of each of the 82 species falling 
below the CRT by 2100. The category boundaries and labels the BRT used 
for this review were based on those used by the IPCC for summarizing 
conclusions about climate change research, and are, in order of most 
severe to least severe: Virtually certain (>99%); very likely (90-99%); 
likely (66-90%), more likely than not (50-66%); less likely than not 
(33-50%); unlikely (10-33%); very unlikely (1-10%), and exceptionally 
unlikely (<1%). The BRT provided a summary of votes by each expert 
(tallied in each risk likelihood category), mean (and standard error) 
likelihood of falling below the CRT by 2100, and the mean likelihood 
range for each of the 82 candidate coral species, ranked by mean 
likelihood. To read a summary of how the BRT ranked these species, see 
pages xxxv-xxxvii in the SRR.
    While the BRT's review of the 82 candidates' status was rigorous 
and extensive, the framework used does not allow us to easily or 
clearly translate a particular BRT category of a certain likelihood of 
falling below the CRT to an ESA listing status. Structured expert 
opinion is a valid and commonly used method of evaluating extinction 
risk; however, the scoring methods used by this BRT created a number of 
issues that we must address to make listing determinations. For 
example, some species with the same mean score might have widely 
different ranges in the scores, suggesting differences in confidence 
within or between BRT members. Additionally, the BRT scoring was based 
on qualitative risk categories, which were then quantified and 
summarized statistically. Thus, there is likely no precisely 
describable distinction between two species with mean scores of 49 and 
50, even though one species' score would seem to place it in a higher 
risk category. In addition, in our judgment, the CRT approach used for 
this status review does not correlate well with the ESA's definitions 
of endangered and threatened.
    The ESA defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any species which is 
in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.'' The CRT, as defined by the BRT, is a condition worse than 
endangered, because it essentially precludes recovery. In developing 
our Determination Tool discussed below, we carefully examined the 
definitions of endangered and threatened species pursuant to section 3 
of the ESA, wherein (1) ``endangered species'' is defined as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range'', and (2) ``threatened species'' is 
defined as ``any species which is likely to become an endangered 
species in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range'' (16 U.S.C. 1532 (6) and (20)). Recent case law 
(In Re Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing

[[Page 73237]]

and Sec.  4(d) Rule Litigation, 794 F. Supp.2d 65 (D.D.C. 2011); 748 
F.Supp.2d 19 (D.D.C. 2010)) regarding FWS' listing of the polar bear as 
threatened provides a thorough discussion of the ESA's definitions and 
the Services' broad discretion to determine on a case-by-case basis 
whether a species is in danger of extinction. The Court determined that 
the phrase ``in danger of extinction'' is ambiguous. The Court held 
that there is a temporal distinction between endangered and threatened 
species in terms of the proximity of the ``danger'' of extinction, 
noting that the definition of ``endangered species'' is phrased in the 
present tense, whereas a threatened species is ``likely to become'' so 
in the future. However, the Court also ruled that neither the ESA nor 
its legislative history compels the interpretation of ``endangered'' as 
a species being in ``imminent'' risk of extinction. Thus, in the 
context of the ESA, a key statutory difference between a threatened and 
endangered species is the timing of when a species may be in danger of 
extinction, either now (endangered) or in the foreseeable future 
(threatened). The Court ruled that although imminence of harm is 
clearly one factor that the Services weigh in their decision-making 
process, it is not necessarily a limiting factor, and that Congress did 
not intend to make any single factor controlling when drawing the 
distinction between endangered and threatened species. In many cases, 
the Services might appropriately find that the imminence of a 
particular threat is the dispositive factor that warrants listing a 
species as `threatened' rather than `endangered,' or vice versa. 
Nevertheless, as discussed in the supplemental explanation filed by FWS 
to further explain its decision to list the polar bear, to be listed as 
endangered does not require that extinction be certain or probable, and 
that it is possible for a species validly listed as ``endangered'' to 
actually persist indefinitely. These considerations were incorporated 
into our identification of the appropriate information that makes a 
species in danger of extinction now, likely to become in danger of 
extinction in the foreseeable future, or not warranting listing. For 
example, two major factors determining the immediacy of the danger of 
extinction for corals are the certainty of impacts from high importance 
threats and a species' current or future capacity to resist adverse 
effects. While a threatened species may be impacted by the same threats 
as an endangered species, a threatened species is less exposed, less 
susceptible, or has a buffering capacity, which results in a temporal 
delay in extinction risk. Thus, there is a temporal distinction between 
endangered and threatened species in terms of the proximity of the 
``danger'' of extinction.
    Development of the Determination Tool involved 3 major steps: (1) 
Identification of information elements that are significant in 
determining and differentiating extinction risk for the candidate coral 
species; (2) determining the conditions under which the elements 
contribute to a species being endangered or threatened, or under which 
the elements moderate extinction risk; and (3) developing appropriate 
values to represent the state of the elements for each of the candidate 
species.
    For the first major step, the main components of the Determination 
Tool were derived from the specific elements that the BRT identified in 
the SRR as significant in terms of increasing or decreasing a species' 
extinction risk, and refined by information in the SIR. These elements 
were grouped into 3 categories as follows: Vulnerability to threats 
(susceptibility and exposure), demography (rangewide abundance, trends 
in abundance, and relative recruitment rate), and spatial structure 
(overall distribution and ocean basin). Certain combinations of these 
elements pose more immediate danger of extinction for corals. For 
example, based on the analyses by the BRT, a coral species with 
characteristics such as high vulnerability to bleaching from ocean 
warming, narrow overall distribution, and rare abundance would have an 
increased likelihood of extinction. In contrast, a species that has low 
vulnerability to bleaching, wide overall distribution, and common 
abundance would have a low likelihood of extinction. Thus, in step 2 of 
developing the Determination Tool, we determined the particular 
combinations of threat vulnerabilities, demographic information, and 
spatial information that correspond to a particular proposed listing 
status. Endangered species are species with a current high extinction 
risk; they are highly vulnerable to one or more of the high importance 
threats and have either already been seriously adversely affected by 
one of these threats, as evidenced by a declining trend, and high 
susceptibility to that threat, or they lack a buffer to protect them 
from serious adverse effects from these threats in the future (e.g., 
rare abundance or narrow overall distribution). Threatened species are 
species that are not currently in danger of extinction, but are likely 
to become so within the foreseeable future. The Determination Tool 
evaluates species' extinction risk over the foreseeable future, to the 
year 2100, through the identification of specific threat 
vulnerabilities, demographic traits, and distributional states. There 
are two ways in which a species can warrant listing as threatened. 
Threatened coral species are highly or moderately vulnerable to one or 
more of the high importance threats or highly vulnerable to one or more 
of the lower importance threats, but have either not yet exhibited 
effects in their populations (e.g., stable or increasing trend), or 
they have the buffering protection of a more common abundance or wider 
overall distribution.
    Notably, one major distinction between endangered and threatened 
status for corals is based on the certainty of impacts from high 
importance threats and a species' current or future capacity to resist 
adverse effects. This is closely linked to the species' exposure and 
susceptibility to these threats, as well as their demographic and 
spatial elements. While a threatened species may be impacted by the 
same threats as an endangered species, a threatened species is less 
exposed, less susceptible, or has a buffering capacity, which results 
in a temporal delay in extinction risk. Given the certainty that the 
climate threats are increasing, and the particular combinations of 
species-specific elements, a threatened species will be in danger of 
extinction by 2100. Thus, there is a temporal distinction between 
endangered and threatened species in terms of the proximity of the 
``danger'' of extinction.
    Species that do not warrant listing are species that are found not 
to be in danger of extinction currently and not likely to become so by 
2100 because they have: Low vulnerability to the high importance 
threats, or low or moderate vulnerability to all the lower importance 
threats, and common abundance or wide overall distribution. Species 
that are not warranted for listing are distinguished from threatened 
and endangered species because they have a lower susceptibility to 
threats and the buffering capacity to resist adverse effect on their 
status now and into the future, meaning few individuals are affected by 
threats (lower vulnerability) and the high abundance and wide range 
buffers the species from declines. Thus there is low extinction risk 
for these species, which supports their not warranted status.
    In the third step of the risk analysis we developed a range of 
values for each of the information elements comprising the 
Determination Tool, to provide an adequate description of that 
elements'

[[Page 73238]]

contribution to each species' extinction risk, and to allow evaluation 
of meaningful distinctions between species. For example, rangewide 
abundance is rated as rare, uncommon, or common; depth distribution is 
shallow, moderate or wide; threat susceptibilities are rated as high, 
moderate or low, or as intermediate values. These values for each of 
the Determination Tool elements are summarized in Table 3D below.

Detailed Description of Determination Tool Elements

    As mentioned above, the Determination Tool uses three categories of 
information for evaluating the status of each of the 82 candidate 
species: Vulnerability to threats, demography and spatial structure 
(Table 2). These three categories were selected based on the influence 
this particular type of information has on the extinction risk of 
corals. There are specific elements within each of these categories 
with which we populated the Determination Tool. The following is a list 
of the specific elements in their categories:
    (1) Vulnerability to threats--(each of the nine most important 
threats described in the Threats Evaluation section above) based on a 
species' susceptibility and exposure to each of the threats;
    (2) Demography--abundance, trends in abundance, relative 
recruitment rate; and
    (3) Spatial structure--overall distribution (which is a combination 
of geographic and depth distributions), and ocean basin.

Where data were available within these elements for a particular 
species, the Determination Tool provided a consistent method to 
consider those elements for classifying each species in terms of its 
listing status. However, if data were unavailable (i.e., no inference 
could be made from the genus or family) on a particular element for a 
species, that element had no effect on listing status (i.e., no 
available information on which to identify contribution to extinction 
risk). Notably, there were available data for at least one element in 
each of the categories for each species to adequately populate the 
Determination Tool for a listing status. Summaries of each element 
considered in the Determination Tool, and its effect on listing status, 
are shown in Table 2 below. In all cases, the effect on listing shown 
in the table is a generality that depends on other elements, because 
each outcome depends on a combination of the vulnerability, 
demographic, and spatial structure ratings. Detailed descriptions of 
each of the elements, and how they are rated in the Determination Tool, 
follow after Table 2.

 Table 2--Summary of Each Element Considered in the Determination Tool, and Its Effect on Listing Status. The Corresponding ESA Section 4 Listing Factor
              Is Listed in Parentheses After Each Threat in the Element Column. ``E'' Means ``Endangered'' and ``T'' Means ``Threatened.''
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Species-specific
              Category                          Element                     Definition                 classification          Effect on listing status
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vulnerability to High Importance      Ocean Warming (E)..........  Elevation of ocean           high, moderate, low........  high contributes to E or T
 Threats.                                                           temperatures above                                        depending on other
                                                                    tolerated range resulting                                 elements.
                                                                    primarily in bleaching                                   moderate contributes to T
                                                                    (expulsion of symbiotic                                   depending on other
                                                                    algae) and other                                          elements.
                                                                    detrimental physiological
                                                                    responses.
                                      Disease (C)................  Presumed infectious          high, moderate, low........  high contributes to E or T
                                                                    diseases often associated                                 depending on other
                                                                    with acute tissue loss.                                   elements.
                                                                                                                             moderate contributes to T
                                                                                                                              depending on other
                                                                                                                              elements.
                                      Ocean Acidification (E)....  Increased CO2 in the         high, moderate, low........  high contributes to E or T
                                                                    surface ocean, resulting                                  depending on other
                                                                    in reduced pH and reduced                                 elements.
                                                                    availability of carbonate                                moderate contributes to T
                                                                    ions.                                                     depending on other
                                                                                                                              elements.
Vulnerability to Lower Importance     Reef Fishing Impacts         The alteration (through the  high, moderate, low........  high or moderate
 Threats.                              (Trophic Cascades) (A).      removal of fish biomass)                                  contributes to E or T
                                                                    of trophic interactions                                   depending on other
                                                                    that is particularly                                      elements.
                                                                    important in structuring
                                                                    coral reef ecosystems.
                                      Sedimentation (A & E)......  Delivery of terrestrial      high, moderate, low........  high contributes to T
                                                                    sediments and re-                                         depending on other
                                                                    mobilization of in situ                                   elements.
                                                                    sediments.
                                      Nutrient Over-enrichment (A  An overabundance of          high, moderate, low........  high contributes to T
                                       & E).                        chemicals that organisms                                  depending on other
                                                                    need to live and grow,                                    elements.
                                                                    which results in
                                                                    detrimental physiological
                                                                    or ecological imbalances.

[[Page 73239]]

 
                                      Sea-level Rise (A & E).....  Increase of observed sea     high, moderate, low........  high contributes to T
                                                                    level due to thermal                                      depending on other
                                                                    expansion and the melting                                 elements.
                                                                    of both land and sea ice
                                                                    as direct consequences of
                                                                    increases in atmospheric
                                                                    greenhouse gases.
                                      Predation (C)..............  The feeding on corals by     high, moderate, low........  high contributes to T
                                                                    fish or invertebrates.                                    depending on other
                                                                                                                              elements.
                                      Collection and Trade (B)...  The removal and transport    high, moderate, low........  high contributes to T
                                                                    of coral colonies.                                        depending on other
                                                                                                                              elements.
Demographic.........................  Qualitative Range-wide       A qualitative estimate of    rare, uncommon, common.....  rare or uncommon
                                       Abundance (E).               the abundance of a species.                               contributes to E depending
                                                                                                                              on other elements.
                                                                                                                             rare contributes to T
                                                                                                                              depending on other
                                                                                                                              elements.
                                      Trends in Abundance (E)....  A quantitative or            decreasing, stable,          decreasing contributes to E
                                                                    qualitative indicator of a   increasing.                  depending on other
                                                                    species' trajectory;                                      elements.
                                                                    represents realized
                                                                    productivity.
                                      Relative Recruitment Rate    Number of recruits per       low, moderate, high........  low contributes to E or T
                                       (E).                         spawner.                                                  depending on other
                                                                                                                              elements.
Spatial Structure...................  Overall Distribution (E)...  The latitudinal,             narrow, moderate, wide.....  narrow contributes to E or
                                                                    longitudinal, habitat, and                                T depending on other
                                                                    depth extent occupied by                                  elements.
                                                                    the species.                                             moderate or wide
                                                                                                                              contributes to T depending
                                                                                                                              on other elements.
                                      Ocean Basin (E)............  The restriction of a         Caribbean, Eastern Pacific,  Restriction to Caribbean or
                                                                    species to a particular      Indo-Pacific.                Eastern Pacific
                                                                    ocean basin.                                              contributes to E or T
                                                                                                                              depending on other
                                                                                                                              elements.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vulnerability to Threats

    The first information category in the Determination Tool is 
vulnerability of coral species to the most important threats. The 
future trajectories of the 82 candidate coral species will largely 
depend on their vulnerabilities to these threats, thus threat 
vulnerability is the key component to the 82 extinction risk analyses. 
As described in the Threats to Coral Species section above, 
vulnerability of a coral species to a threat is a function of 
susceptibility and exposure, where susceptibility refers to the 
response of coral colonies to the adverse conditions produced by the 
threat, and exposure refers to the proportion of colonies that come 
into contact with the threat across the range of the species. 
Vulnerability applies to large spatial and temporal scales--for each 
species and each threat, susceptibilities and exposures are considered 
for its entire range, from now to the year 2100. Species-specific 
ratings of susceptibilities and exposures were made in the 
Determination Tool, leading to species-specific vulnerability ratings, 
as described in more detail below.
    Susceptibility generally refers to the response of coral colonies 
to the adverse conditions produced by the threat. Susceptibility of a 
coral species to a threat is primarily a function of biological 
processes and characteristics, and can vary greatly between and within 
taxa (i.e., family, genus, and species). In the Determination Tool, 
susceptibility of each of the 82 candidate corals species to each of 
the nine threats was rated as high, high-moderate, moderate, moderate-
low, or low, based on the information in the SRR and SIR. 
Susceptibility of a species to a threat depends on the combination of: 
(1) Direct effects of the threat on the species; and (2) the cumulative 
(i.e., additive) and interactive (i.e., synergistic or antagonistic) 
effects of the threat with the effects of other threats on the species. 
Therefore, when rating the susceptibilities to each threat, we 
specifically considered how the cumulative or interactive effects, for 
which we have information, altered the rating that would be assigned to 
a threat susceptibility in isolation. In many cases the interactive and 
cumulative effects of threats increased a species' susceptibility 
rating to a particular threat, specifically when the species has 
moderate or high susceptibilities to the individual threats. Further, 
species with low susceptibilities to individual threats are not 
expected to have increased susceptibilities when considering cumulative 
or interactive effects, because low susceptibility means that few 
individuals of the species exhibit adverse impacts to the threat. Thus, 
there is a low likelihood of multiple low susceptibility threats 
affecting the same individuals either cumulatively or interactively. 
The threat susceptibility ratings from the Determination Tool for each 
of the candidate species for each threat are shown in Table 3. In 
addition, the Determination Tool includes a

[[Page 73240]]

justification sheet that provides the rationale for each of the 
susceptibility ratings. In the justifications sheet, we identify the 
complete basis on which we assigned a ranking, including cumulative and 
interactive effects of threats. Copies of the entire Determination Tool 
are available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html.
    As described above, vulnerability of a coral species to a threat 
also depends on the proportion of colonies that are exposed to the 
threat. Exposure is primarily a function of physical processes and 
characteristics that limit or moderate the impact of the threat across 
the range of the species. In the Determination Tool, exposure of each 
of the 82 candidate corals species to each of the nine threats was 
rated as high, high-moderate, moderate, moderate-low, or low, based on 
the information in the SRR and SIR. Exposure of a species to a threat 
depends on the spatial and temporal scales over which exposure to the 
threat is being considered. As explained above, the appropriate spatial 
scale is the entire current range of the species, and the appropriate 
temporal scale is from now to the year 2100. The threat exposure 
ratings from the Determination Tool for each of the candidate species 
for each threat are shown in Table 3. In addition, the Determination 
Tool includes a justification sheet that provides the rationale for 
each of the exposure ratings.
    Vulnerability of a coral species to a threat is a function of 
susceptibility and exposure. Thus, in the Determination Tool, the 
vulnerability rating for each species to each threat is determined by 
the sum of the susceptibility and exposure ratings, resulting in a 
threat vulnerability rating that we ranked as high, moderate, or low. 
The threat vulnerability ratings from the Determination Tool for each 
of the candidate species for each threat are shown in Table 3.
    The three most important threats that contribute to a species' 
extinction risk are ocean warming, disease, and ocean acidification. We 
considered these threats to be the most significant threats posing 
extinction risk to the 82 candidate coral species currently and out to 
the year 2100. Thus, vulnerability to these threats highly influenced 
the listing status for each of the 82 coral species. Threats of lower 
importance--trophic effects of reef fishing, sedimentation, nutrients, 
sea-level rise, predation, and collection and trade--were also 
considered as contributing to extinction risks, but to a lesser extent. 
Therefore, the vulnerability to the lower importance threats only 
contributed to threatened or endangered status if the species had a 
high vulnerability to that threat. Last, the threats not considered in 
the tool, or those that have moderate or low ranking, may still have 
negative effects on individual species, just not enough to 
significantly affect extinction risk.

Demography (ESA Factor E)

    Demographic elements that cause a species to be at heightened risk 
of extinction, alone or in combination with threats under other listing 
factors, are considered under ESA Factor E--other natural or manmade 
factors affecting the continued existence of the species. Because the 
demographic elements of abundance and productivity have such 
interactive effects on extinction risk and because they are often both 
estimated from the same time series data, we address these two 
parameters together. Information related to coral abundance and 
productivity can be divided into several qualitative and quantitative 
metrics. However, abundance and trend data for the 82 coral species are 
limited; the data that do exist suffer from substantial uncertainties 
(see Section 4.2 of the SRR). Therefore, the Determination Tool relies 
on the qualitative rangewide abundance and qualitative trends in 
abundance.
    Species-specific qualitative abundance estimates, coded as 
``common'', ``uncommon'', or ``rare'' for the candidate species, are 
based on information in Sections 6 and 7 of the SRR and SIR. A 
qualitative rangewide abundance estimate was the only abundance metric 
that was available for all of the 82 candidate species. In general, 
``rare'' or ``uncommon'' species are more vulnerable than common ones, 
although some species are naturally rare and have likely persisted in 
that rare state for tens of thousands of years or longer. However, 
naturally rare species may generally be at greater risk of extinction 
than naturally more common species when confronted with global threats 
to which they are vulnerable. Thus, in the Determination Tool, rarity 
or uncommonness increased extinction risk and contributed to an 
endangered or threatened status. Trends in abundance directly 
demonstrate how the focal species responds under current or recent-past 
conditions. Trend data for the 82 species were scarce; however, a 
declining trend increased extinction risk and contributed to endangered 
status in the Determination Tool.
    Productivity is perhaps a more important indicator of extinction 
risk than commonness. Productivity is defined here as the tendency of 
the population to increase in abundance if perturbed to low numbers and 
is often expressed as ``recruits per spawner,'' although the term 
``recruit'' can be difficult to apply in the case of corals, which 
reproduce both sexually and asexually (see Section 2.2.1 of the SRR). 
Many of the 82 candidate coral species are long-lived, with low or 
episodic productivity, making them highly vulnerable to trends of 
increased mortality or catastrophic mortality events. As an example of 
the high influence recruitment rate has on extinction risk, the BRT 
considered a species that has lost the ability for successful 
recruitment of sexually-produced progeny to be below the CRT, even if 
it can still reproduce asexually; thus such a species would be at high 
risk of extinction. Recruitment rate estimates for the 82 candidate 
species were scarce; however, in the Determination Tool, where 
estimates were available, low relative recruitment rates increased the 
extinction risk and contributed to endangered or threatened status.

Spatial Structure (ESA Factor E)

    Spatial elements that cause a species to be at heightened risk of 
extinction, alone or in combination with threats under other listing 
factors, are considered under ESA Factor E--other natural or manmade 
factors affecting the continued existence of the species. Spatial 
structure is important at a variety of scales. At small spatial scales 
within a single population, issues of gamete density and other Allee 
effects (when, in small populations, the reproduction and survival 
rates of individuals decreases with declining population density) can 
have significant impacts on population persistence. A wide geographic 
distribution can buffer a population or a species from environmental 
fluctuations or catastrophic events; it ``spreads the risk'' among 
multiple populations (see Section 4.3 of the SRR). We explicitly 
described how exposure to individual threats varies at different 
spatial scales in the Threats Evaluation section above. The extent to 
which an individual species' extinction risk is contributed to or 
moderated by those spatial aspects is considered in exposure. Here, we 
are identifying the general area a species may occupy across its 
geographic and depth distributions. Generally, having a wide geographic 
or depth distribution provides more potential area to occupy. However, 
if populations are too isolated (even within a large distribution), 
gene flow and larval connectivity may be reduced, making the species 
less likely to recover from mortality events. Thus,

[[Page 73241]]

a robust spatial structure includes a wide geographic distribution, 
with substantial connectivity to maintain proximity of populations and 
individuals within the range. We considered the geographic (including 
longitudinal, latitudinal, and habitat) distribution and depth 
distribution in rating the overall distribution for each species. Based 
on the information above on how distribution influences extinction 
risk, a narrow overall distribution increases extinction risk. However, 
in some cases a moderate or wide distribution is not sufficient to 
reduce extinction risk to a level that the species would not warrant 
listing.
    We also considered the ocean basin in which a species exists under 
spatial structure in the Determination Tool. The Caribbean basin is 
geographically small and partially enclosed, biologically well-
connected, and has relatively high human population densities with a 
long history of adversely affecting coral reef systems across the 
basin. The eastern Pacific basin is geographically isolated from the 
Indo-Pacific and has an environment that may be one of the least 
hospitable to reef development and coral biodiversity. Further, since 
1980, six of the 40 known reef-building scleractinian and hydrocoral 
species in the eastern Pacific may have become extinct or locally 
extirpated. The eastern Pacific contains approximately one third of the 
number of genera and less than half the number of species compared to 
the Caribbean, less reef area than in the Caribbean, and strong climate 
variability. If a species is restricted to one of these basins, its 
extinction risk is significantly increased, and thus contributed to a 
status of endangered or threatened.
    In the Determination Tool, the geographic distribution ratings are 
defined as follows: All Caribbean species are rated as ``narrow; in the 
Indo-Pacific, ``narrow'' is a portion of the Coral Triangle, or the 
eastern Pacific, or the Hawaiian archipelago, or a similarly small 
portion of the Indian and Pacific Oceans; ``moderate'' is somewhat 
restricted latitudinally or longitudinally in the Indo-Pacific, but not 
as much as the narrow species (e.g., species distributed throughout the 
Coral Triangle are rated as moderate, not narrow); and ``wide'' is 
broadly distributed latitudinally and longitudinally throughout most of 
the Indo-Pacific. For all species, the depth distribution ratings are 
defined as: ``Shallow'' is near the surface to approximately 15 m, 
``moderate'' is near the surface to approximately 50 m, and ``wide'' is 
near the surface to approximately 100 m. Species that are found 
predominantly in deeper water potentially occur near the surface in 
low-light environments (e.g., turbid habitats, overhangs, caves, etc.). 
Overall distribution ratings are simply sums of the geographic and 
depth ratings; thus, justifications for the overall distribution 
ratings are not provided in the Determination Tool.

Summary of the Determination Tool

    As discussed above and described in the outline below, particular 
combinations of threat vulnerabilities, demographic information, and 
spatial information result in a particular proposed listing status. The 
outline below is the textual description of the Determination Tool. A 
graphical depiction of the Determination Tool is available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html. The 82 outcomes are 
provided in the Listing Determinations section that follows.
    (1) A species warrants listing as endangered if:
    (a) It is highly vulnerable to any high importance threat and
    (b) It has any of the following demographic elements:
    (i) Rare or uncommon abundance; or
    (ii) Declining trend; or
    (iii) Low recruitment rate; and
    (c) It has any of the following spatial elements:
    (i) Narrow overall distribution or
    (ii) Occurs only in the E. Pacific or Caribbean; and
    (d) The existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequately regulating 
the high importance threats contributing to the species' status.
    (2) A species warrants listing as threatened if:
    (a) It is highly vulnerable to any high importance threat, but does 
not have both one of the demographic elements and one of the spatial 
elements listed under 1b and 1c above, or
    (b) It is moderately vulnerable to any high importance threat, or 
highly vulnerable to any lower importance threat, and
    (i) It has any of the following qualities:
    (1) Rare abundance or
    (2) Narrow overall distribution; and
    (c) The existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequately regulating 
the threats contributing to the species' status.
    (3) A species does not warrant listing as threatened or endangered 
if:
    (a) It is not highly or moderately vulnerable to any high 
importance threat, nor highly vulnerable to any lower importance 
threat, and
    (b) It has one of the following qualities:
    (i) Uncommon or common abundance and moderate or wide overall 
distribution; or
    (ii) The existing regulatory mechanisms are adequately regulating 
the threats contributing to the species' status
    Tables 3A-3D: The four tables below show all demographic (3A), 
spatial (3A), and threat vulnerability (3B & 3C) data for each of the 
84 species considered in the Determination Tool. Keys to the data are 
shown in Table 3D. Copies of the entire Determination Tool are 
available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html.

  Table 3A--Demographic and Spatial Data for Each of the 84 Species Considered in the Determination Tool. A Key for the Ratings Is Provided in Table 3D
                                                                          Below
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Demographic (E)                                               Spatial (E)
                                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  SRR order         Species        Generalized                 Relative
                                    rangewide    Trends in   recruitment   Geographic       Depth        Overall      Restricted to      Restricted to
                                    abundance    abundance       rate     distribution  distribution  distribution      Caribbean       Eastern  Pacific
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0...........  Acropora                       2            1            1             1             1             2  Y                  N
               cervicornis.
0...........  Acropora palmata...            2            1            1             1             2             3  Y                  N
1...........  Agaricia lamarcki..            3            2            1             1             3             4  Y                  N
2...........  Mycetophyllia ferox            1            1            1             1             3             4  Y                  N
3...........  Dendrogyra                     1          n/a            1             1             2             3  Y                  N
               cylindrus.
4...........  Dichocoenia                    3          n/a            2             1             3             4  Y                  N
               stokesii.
5...........  Montastraea                    3            1            1             1             3             4  Y                  N
               faveolata.
6...........  Montastraea franksi            3            1            1             1             3             4  Y                  N
7...........  Montastraea                    3            1            1             1             2             3  Y                  N
               annularis.
8...........  Millepora foveolata            2          n/a            3             1             1             2  N                  N
9...........  Millepora tuberosa.            3          n/a            3             1             1             2  N                  N

[[Page 73242]]

 
10..........  Heliopora coerulea.            3          n/a            2             3             3             6  N                  N
11..........  Pocillopora danae..            2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
12..........  Pocillopora elegans            3          n/a            1             1             3             4  N                  Y
               (East Pacific).
13..........  Pocillopora elegans            3          n/a          n/a             3             3             6  N                  N
               (Indo-Pacific).
14..........  Seriatopora                    2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
               aculeata.
15..........  Acropora aculeus...            3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
16..........  Acropora acuminata.            2          n/a            2             3             2             5  N                  N
17..........  Acropora aspera....            3          n/a          n/a             2             1             3  N                  N
18..........  Acropora dendrum...            1          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
19..........  Acropora donei.....            2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
20..........  Acropora globiceps.            3          n/a          n/a             2             1             3  N                  N
21..........  Acropora horrida...            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
22..........  Acropora                       1          n/a          n/a             1             2             3  N                  N
               jacquelineae.
23..........  Acropora listeri...            2          n/a          n/a             3             1             4  N                  N
24..........  Acropora lokani....            1          n/a          n/a             1             2             3  N                  N
25..........  Acropora                       2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               microclados.
26..........  Acropora palmerae..            2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
27..........  Acropora paniculata            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
28..........  Acropora pharaonis.            3          n/a          n/a             1             2             3  N                  N
29..........  Acropora polystoma.            2          n/a          n/a             3             1             4  N                  N
30..........  Acropora retusa....            2          n/a          n/a             3             1             4  N                  N
31..........  Acropora rudis.....            2          n/a          n/a             1             1             2  N                  N
32..........  Acropora speciosa..            2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
33..........  Acropora striata...            2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
34..........  Acropora tenella...            2          n/a          n/a             2             3             5  N                  N
35..........  Acropora vaughani..            2          n/a            2             3             2             5  N                  N
36..........  Acropora verweyi...            3          n/a          n/a             3             1             4  N                  N
37..........  Anacropora                     2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
               puertogalerae.
38..........  Anacropora spinosa.            2          n/a          n/a             1             1             2  N                  N
39..........  Astreopora                     2          n/a          n/a             3             1             4  N                  N
               cucullata.
40..........  Isopora                        3          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
               crateriformis.
41..........  Isopora cuneata....            3          n/a            3             3             1             4  N                  N
42..........  Montipora angulata.            2          n/a            2             3             2             5  N                  N
43..........  Montipora                      2          n/a            2             3             2             5  N                  N
               australiensis.
44..........  Montipora calcarea.            2          n/a            2             3             2             5  N                  N
45..........  Montipora                      2          n/a            2             3             2             5  N                  N
               caliculata.
46..........  Montipora dilatata/            3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               flabellata(/
               turgescens).
47..........  Montipora lobulata.            2          n/a            2             3             2             5  N                  N
48..........  Montipora patula(/             3          n/a            2             1             2             3  N                  N
               verrilli).
49..........  Alveopora allingi..            2          n/a          n/a             3             1             4  N                  N
50..........  Alveopora                      2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               fenestrata.
51..........  Alveopora                      2          n/a            2             3             3             6  N                  N
               verrilliana.
52..........  Porites                        3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               horizontalata.
53..........  Porites napopora...            3          n/a          n/a             2             1             3  N                  N
54..........  Porites nigrescens.            3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
55..........  Porites (Clade 1               3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               forma pukoensis).
56..........  Psammocora stellata            2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
57..........  Leptoseris                     2          n/a          n/a             3             3             6  N                  N
               incrustans.
58..........  Leptoseris yabei...            2          n/a          n/a             3             3             6  N                  N
59..........  Pachyseris rugosa..            3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
60..........  Pavona bipartite...            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
61..........  Pavona cactus......            3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
62..........  Pavona decussata...            3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
63..........  Pavona diffluens...            2          n/a          n/a             1             2             3  N                  N
64..........  Pavona venosa......            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
65..........  Galaxea astreata...            3          n/a          n/a             3             3             6  N                  N
66..........  Pectinia alcicornis            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
67..........  Acanthastrea brevis            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
68..........  Acanthastrea                   2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               hemprichii.
69..........  Acanthastrea                   2          n/a          n/a             3             1             4  N                  N
               ishigakiensis.
70..........  Acanthastrea                   2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
               regularis.
71..........  Barabattoia laddi..            2          n/a          n/a             2             1             3  N                  N
72..........  Caulastrea                     2          n/a          n/a             1             2             3  N                  N
               echinulata.
73..........  Cyphastrea agassizi            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
74..........  Cyphastrea ocellina            2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
75..........  Euphyllia cristata.            2          n/a          n/a             2             2             4  N                  N
76..........  Euphyllia                      2          n/a          n/a             2             3             5  N                  N
               paraancora.
77..........  Euphyllia                      2          n/a          n/a             1             2             3  N                  N
               paradivisa.
78..........  Physogyra                      3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               lichtensteini.
79..........  Turbinaria                     3          n/a            3             3             2             5  N                  N
               mesenterina.
80..........  Turbinaria peltata.            3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
81..........  Turbinaria                     3          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               reniformis.
82..........  Turbinaria                     2          n/a          n/a             3             2             5  N                  N
               stellulata.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 73243]]


    Table 3B--Exposure (Exp.), Susceptibility (Susc.), and Vulnerability (Vul.) Ratings for Five Threats for Each of the 84 Species Considered in the
                                        Determination Tool. A Key for the Ratings Is Provided in Table 3D Below.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             High importance threats                              Medium and low importance threats
                                     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Ocean warming              Disease          Ocean acidification     Trophic effects of       Sedimentation
   SRR Order           Species       ----------------------------------------------------------------------      reef fishing     ----------------------
                                                                                                           -----------------------
                                       Exp.   Susc.   Vul.    Exp.    Susc.   Vul.    Exp.   Susc.   Vul.    Exp.   Susc.   Vul.    Exp.   Susc.   Vul.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0.............  Acropora cervicornis    1.5     1       2.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     1.5     3       1.5      2     3.5      2     1       3
0.............  Acropora palmata....    1.5     1       2.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     1.5     3       1.5      2     3.5      2     1       3
1.............  Agaricia lamarcki...    1.5     2       3.5     1.5     2       3.5    1.5     2       3.5     1.5      2     3.5      2     2       4
2.............  Mycetophyllia ferox.    1.5     3       4.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     2       3.5     1.5      2     3.5      2     2       4
3.............  Dendrogyra cylindrus    1.5     2       3.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     2       3.5     1.5      2     3.5      2     2       4
4.............  Dichocoenia stokesii    1.5     3       4.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     2       3.5     1.5      2     3.5      2     1.5     3.5
5.............  Montastraea             1.5     1       2.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     1.5     3       1.5      2     3.5      2     1       3
                 faveolata.
6.............  Montastraea franksi.    1.5     1       2.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     1.5     3       1.5      2     3.5      2     1       3
7.............  Montastraea             1.5     1       2.5     1.5     1       2.5    1.5     1.5     3       1.5      2     3.5      2     1       3
                 annularis.
8.............  Millepora foveolata.    1.5     1       2.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
9.............  Millepora tuberosa..    1.5     1       2.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
10............  Heliopora coerulea..    1.5     3       4.5     2       3       5      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     3       6
11............  Pocillopora danae...    1.5     1.5     3       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
12............  Pocillopora elegans     1.5     1.5     3       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 (East Pacific).
13............  Pocillopora elegans     1.5     1.5     3       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 (Indo-Pacific).
14............  Seriatopora aculeata    1.5     1.5     3       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
15............  Acropora aculeus....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
16............  Acropora acuminata..    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
17............  Acropora aspera.....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
18............  Acropora dendrum....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
19............  Acropora donei......    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
20............  Acropora globiceps..    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
21............  Acropora horrida....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
22............  Acropora                1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 jacquelineae.
23............  Acropora listeri....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
24............  Acropora lokani.....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
25............  Acropora microclados    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
26............  Acropora palmerae...    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
27............  Acropora paniculata.    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
28............  Acropora pharaonis..    1.5     1       2.5     2       1       3      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
29............  Acropora polystoma..    1.5     1       2.5     2       1       3      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
30............  Acropora retusa.....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
31............  Acropora rudis......    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
32............  Acropora speciosa...    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
33............  Acropora striata....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
34............  Acropora tenella....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
35............  Acropora vaughani...    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
36............  Acropora verweyi....    1.5     1       2.5     2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
37............  Anacropora              1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
                 puertogalerae.
38............  Anacropora spinosa..    1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
39............  Astreopora cucullata    1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
40............  Isopora                 1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
                 crateriformis.
41............  Isopora cuneata.....    1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
42............  Montipora angulata..    1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
43............  Montipora               1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
                 australiensis.
44............  Montipora calcarea..    1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
45............  Montipora caliculata    1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
46............  Montipora dilatata/     1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
                 flabellata(/
                 turgescens).
47............  Montipora lobulata..    1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2       5
48............  Montipora patula(/      1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     1.5     4.5
                 verrilli).
49............  Alveopora allingi...    1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
50............  Alveopora fenestrata    1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
51............  Alveopora               1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 verrilliana.
52............  Porites                 1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 horizontalata.
53............  Porites napopora....    1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
54............  Porites nigrescens..    1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
55............  Porites (Clade 1        1.5     2       3.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 forma pukoensis).
56............  Psammocora stellata.    1.5     2.5     4       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
57............  Leptoseris              1.5     3       4.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 incrustans.
58............  Leptoseris yabei....    1.5     3       4.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
59............  Pachyseris rugosa...    1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
60............  Pavona bipartite....    1.5     2       3.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
61............  Pavona cactus.......    1.5     2       3.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
62............  Pavona decussata....    1.5     2       3.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
63............  Pavona diffluens....    1.5     2       3.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
64............  Pavona venosa.......    1.5     2       3.5     2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
65............  Galaxea astreata....    1.5     2       3.5     2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     3       6
66............  Pectinia alcicornis.    1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     3       6
67............  Acanthastrea brevis.    1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     3       6
68............  Acanthastrea            1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     3       6
                 hemprichii.

[[Page 73244]]

 
69............  Acanthastrea            1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     3       6
                 ishigakiensis.
70............  Acanthastrea            1.5     1.5     3       2       1.5     3.5    1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3     3       6
                 regularis.
71............  Barabattoia laddi...    1.5     2.5     4       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3   n/a     n/a
72............  Caulastrea              1.5     2.5     4       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3   n/a     n/a
                 echinulata.
73............  Cyphastrea agassizi.    1.5     2.5     4       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3   n/a     n/a
74............  Cyphastrea ocellina.    1.5     2.5     4       2       2       4      1.5     2       3.5     2        2     4        3   n/a     n/a
75............  Euphyllia cristata..    1.5     1.5     3       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
76............  Euphyllia paraancora    1.5     1.5     3       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
77............  Euphyllia paradivisa    1.5     1.5     3       2       2.5     4.5    1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
78............  Physogyra               1.5     1.5     3       2       2       4      1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 lichtensteini.
79............  Turbinaria              1.5     3       4.5     2       2       4      1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 mesenterina.
80............  Turbinaria peltata..    1.5     3       4.5     2       2       4      1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
81............  Turbinaria              1.5     3       4.5     2       2       4      1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 reniformis.
82............  Turbinaria              1.5     3       4.5     2       2       4      1.5     2.5     4       2        2     4        3     2.5     5.5
                 stellulata.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Table 3C--Exposure (Exp.), Susceptibility (Susc.), and Vulnerability (Vul.) Ratings for Four Threats for Each of the 84 Species Considered in the
                       Determination Tool, and Regulatory Mechanisms Results. A Key for the Ratings is Provided in Table 3D Below.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Medium and low importance threats
                                            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SRR Order               Species               Nutrients          Sea-level rise         Predation        Collection & trade       Inadequacy of
                                            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  regulatory mechanisms?
                                              Exp.  Susc.   Vul.   Exp.  Susc.   Vul.   Exp.  Susc.   Vul.   Exp.  Susc.   Vul.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0................  Acropora cervicornis....      2      1      3      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
0................  Acropora palmata........      2      1      3      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
1................  Agaricia lamarcki.......      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
2................  Mycetophyllia ferox.....      2      1      3      3      2      5      3      3      6    2.5    2.5      5  YES.
3................  Dendrogyra cylindrus....      2    1.5    3.5      3      2      5      3      3      6    2.5    2.5      5  YES.
4................  Dichocoenia stokesii....      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3    2.5    5.5      3      3      6  YES.
5................  Montastraea faveolata...      2      1      3      3      2      5      3    2.5    5.5      3      3      6  YES.
6................  Montastraea franksi.....      2      1      3      3      2      5      3    2.5    5.5      3      3      6  YES.
7................  Montastraea annularis...      2      1      3      3      2      5      3    2.5    5.5      3      3      6  YES.
8................  Millepora foveolata.....      2      2      4      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
9................  Millepora tuberosa......      2      2      4      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
10...............  Heliopora coerulea......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      3      6      3      3      6  NO.
11...............  Pocillopora danae.......      2      2      4      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
12...............  Pocillopora elegans           2      2      4      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
                    (East Pacific).
13...............  Pocillopora elegans           2      2      4      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
                    (Indo-Pacific).
14...............  Seriatopora aculeata....      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
15...............  Acropora aculeus........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
16...............  Acropora acuminata......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      3      6      3      3      6  YES.
17...............  Acropora aspera.........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
18...............  Acropora dendrum........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
19...............  Acropora donei..........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
20...............  Acropora globiceps......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
21...............  Acropora horrida........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
22...............  Acropora jacquelineae...      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
23...............  Acropora listeri........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
24...............  Acropora lokani.........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
25...............  Acropora microclados....      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
26...............  Acropora palmerae.......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
27...............  Acropora paniculata.....      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
28...............  Acropora pharaonis......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
29...............  Acropora polystoma......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
30...............  Acropora retusa.........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
31...............  Acropora rudis..........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
32...............  Acropora speciosa.......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
33...............  Acropora striata........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
34...............  Acropora tenella........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
35...............  Acropora vaughani.......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
36...............  Acropora verweyi........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
37...............  Anacropora puertogalerae      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
38...............  Anacropora spinosa......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
39...............  Astreopora cucullata....      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
40...............  Isopora crateriformis...      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
41...............  Isopora cuneata.........      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
42...............  Montipora angulata......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
43...............  Montipora australiensis.      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
44...............  Montipora calcarea......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
45...............  Montipora caliculata....      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
46...............  Montipora dilatata/           2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
                    flabellata(/turgescens).

[[Page 73245]]

 
47...............  Montipora lobulata......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
48...............  Montipora patula(/            2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    1.5    4.5      3      3      6  YES.
                    verrilli).
49...............  Alveopora allingi.......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
50...............  Alveopora fenestrata....      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
51...............  Alveopora verrilliana...      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
52...............  Porites horizontalata...      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
53...............  Porites napopora........      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
54...............  Porites nigrescens......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
55...............  Porites (Clade 1 forma        2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
                    pukoensis).
56...............  Psammocora stellata.....      2      2      4      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
57...............  Leptoseris incrustans...      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
58...............  Leptoseris yabei........      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
59...............  Pachyseris rugosa.......      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
60...............  Pavona bipartita........      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
61...............  Pavona cactus...........      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
62...............  Pavona decussata........      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
63...............  Pavona diffluens........      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  YES.
64...............  Pavona venosa...........      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      2      5      3      3      6  NO.
65...............  Galaxea astreata........      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3      3      6      3      3      6  NO.
66...............  Pectinia alcicornis.....      2      3      5      3      2      5      3      1      4      3      3      6  YES.
67...............  Acanthastrea brevis.....      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
68...............  Acanthastrea hemprichii.      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
69...............  Acanthastrea                  2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
                    ishigakiensis.
70...............  Acanthastrea regularis..      2    n/a    n/a      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
71...............  Barabattoia laddi.......      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
72...............  Caulastrea echinulata...      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
73...............  Cyphastrea agassizi.....      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  NO.
74...............  Cyphastrea ocellina.....      2      2      4      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  NO.
75...............  Euphyllia cristata......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      2      5  YES.
76...............  Euphyllia paraancora....      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      2      5  YES.
77...............  Euphyllia paradivisa....      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      2      5  YES.
78...............  Physogyra lichtensteini.      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3    n/a    n/a      3      3      6  YES.
79...............  Turbinaria mesenterina..      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      3      6      3      3      6  NO.
80...............  Turbinaria peltata......      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      3      6      3      3      6  NO.
81...............  Turbinaria reniformis...      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      3      6      3      3      6  NO.
82...............  Turbinaria stellulata...      2    2.5    4.5      3      2      5      3      3      6      3      3      6  NO.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 Table 3D--Guide to Values for the Determination Tool's Element Ratings
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family.......................  Taxonomic Family to which the species
                                belongs.
SRR order....................  Order in which the species occurs in the
                                Status Review Report.
CRT score....................  The score assigned to each species
                                indicating the mean likelihood that the
                                species would fall below the critical
                                risk threshold (CRT) by 2100. The CRT is
                                defined as a condition where a species
                                is of such low abundance, or so
                                spatially disrupted, or at such reduced
                                diversity, that the species is at
                                extremely high risk of extinction with
                                little chance for recovery.
CRT Mode.....................  The mode of the likelihood that the
                                species would fall below the CRT by
                                2100.
Proposed Listing Status Oct    The listing status determined by the
 2012.                          determination tool as populated in
                                October 2012.
Generalized Rangewide          Scale (based on SRR's Abundance rating,
 Abundance.                     unless otherwise noted in the
                                Justification):
                                  1 = rare.
                                  2 = uncommon.
                                  3 = common.
Trends in abundance..........  Scale:
                                  1 = decreasing.
                                  2 = stable.
                                  3 = increasing.
Relative Recruitment Rate....  Scale:
                                  1 = low.
                                  2 = moderate.
                                  3 = high.
Geographic Distribution......  Scale:
                                  1 = narrow (Caribbean or restricted to
                                   a portion of the Coral Triangle, or
                                   the eastern Pacific, or the Hawaiian
                                   archipelago, or a similarly small
                                   portion of the Indian and Pacific
                                   Oceans).
                                  2 = moderate (somewhat restricted
                                   latitudinally or longitudinally in
                                   the Indo-Pacific, but not as much as
                                   the narrow species (e.g., species
                                   distributed throughout the Coral
                                   Triangle are rated as moderate, not
                                   narrow).
                                  3 = wide (broadly distributed
                                   latitudinally and longitudinally.
Predominant Depth              Scale:
 Distribution.
                                  1 = shallow (near surface to
                                   approximately 15 m).
                                  2 = moderate (near the surface to
                                   approximately 50 m).

[[Page 73246]]

 
                                  3 = wide (near the surface to
                                   approximately 100 m).
Overall distribution.........  Characterization of the total possible
                                area the species can occupy. Rated by
                                adding the geographic distribution
                                rating to the depth distribution rating.
                               Scale:
                                  2-3 = narrow.
                                  4 = moderate.
                                  5-6 = wide.
Restricted to Caribbean Sea..  Identification of the species'
                                restriction to relatively small,
                                partially enclosed, highly-disturbed
                                wider-Caribbean as Y or N.
Restricted to Eastern Pacific  Identification of the species'
                                restriction to the highly-vulnerable
                                Eastern Pacific as Y or N.
Threat Exposure..............  Exposure of colonies of a species to a
                                particular threat varies greatly across
                                its range, depending on colony location
                                (e.g., latitude, depth, bathymetry,
                                habitat type, etc.), and physical
                                processes that affect seawater
                                temperature and its effects on coral
                                colonies (e.g., winds, currents,
                                upwelling, shading, tides, etc.).
                                Exposure of colonies to a particular
                                threat also varies temporally daily,
                                seasonally, and annually, and is
                                assessed now and within the foreseeable
                                future. Last, species may be exposed to
                                multiple threats simultaneously or
                                sequentially. For most threats exposure
                                will increase over time.
                               Scale:
                                  1 = high.
                                  1.5 = high-to-moderate.
                                  2 = moderate.
                                  2.5 = moderate-to-low.
                                  3 = low.
Threat Susceptibility........  Susceptibility to a particular threat is
                                a function of the species' initial
                                response to a threat and its capacity to
                                recover. Susceptibility to a particular
                                threat is also affected by the
                                interactive or cumulative effects of
                                other threats by altering the organism
                                or its environment biologically,
                                chemically, or physically.
                               Scale:
                                  1 = high.
                                  1.5--high-to-moderate.
                                  2 = moderate.
                                  2.5 = moderate-to-low.
                                  3 = low.
Threat Vulnerability.........  Species-specific vulnerability to each
                                threat is a function of the species-
                                specific exposure and susceptibility. It
                                is assessed by adding the species-
                                specific exposures and susceptibilities.
                               Scale:
                                  2-3 = high.
                                  3.5-4.5 = moderate.
                                  5-6 = low.
Inadequacy of Regulatory       Evaluates if ESA Factor D--Inadequacy of
 Mechanisms (D).                regulatory mechanisms is contributing to
                                the listing status because regulations
                                are intended to control threats that
                                contribute to listing status are
                                inadequate.
                               Scale:
                                  Y = Yes--Factor D contributes to
                                   listing status.
                                  N = No--Factor D does not contribute
                                   to listing status.
                                  n/a = not applicable because species
                                   is not endangered.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Significant Portion of Its Range

    The listing determination process described above was based on 
applying the Determination Tool to each candidate species throughout 
its range. The ESA requires that a species be listed if it is 
threatened or endangered throughout all or in a significant portion of 
its range (SPOIR) (16 U.S.C. 1532(6)). However, the ESA does not 
provide a definition of the phrase ``significant portion of its 
range.'' Therefore, we (with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) have 
proposed a ``Draft Policy on Interpretation of the Phrase `Significant 
Portion of Its Range' in the Endangered Species Act's Definitions of 
`Endangered Species' and `Threatened Species''' (76 FR 76987; December 
9, 2011), which is consistent with our past practice as well as our 
understanding of the statutory framework and language. While the Draft 
Policy remains in draft form, the Services are to consider the 
interpretations and principles contained in the Draft Policy as non-
binding guidance in making individual listing determinations, while 
taking into account the unique circumstances of the species under 
consideration.
    The Draft Policy provides that: (1) If a species is found to be 
endangered or threatened in only a significant portion of its range, 
the entire species is listed as endangered or threatened, respectively, 
and the Act's protections apply across the species' entire range; (2) a 
portion of the range of a species is ``significant'' if its 
contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, 
without that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction; (3) 
the range of a species is considered to be the general geographical 
area within which that species can be found at the time FWS or NMFS 
makes any particular status determination; and (4) if the species is 
not endangered or threatened throughout all of its range, but it is 
endangered or threatened within a significant portion of its range, and 
the population in that significant portion is a valid DPS, we will list 
the DPS rather than the entire taxonomic species or subspecies. As 
discussed above, dividing invertebrate species such as corals into DPSs 
is not authorized by the ESA.
    As explained in the Draft Policy, the analysis of a species' 
listing status begins with an assessment of status throughout its 
range, and this analysis generally will be determinative unless there 
is particular information in the record to suggest that a particular 
portion of the range warrants further

[[Page 73247]]

consideration (76 FR 76987 at 77002; December 9, 2011). Because a 
listing decision can be driven by considerations of status in a portion 
of the species' range only where the portion is both ``significant'' 
and more imperiled than the species overall, we only need to conduct 
detailed analysis of portions where there is substantial information to 
suggest both of these criteria might be met. Thus, where there are no 
facts in the record to suggest that the members of the species in a 
particular geographic area are either of high biological significance 
or subject to a higher risk of extinction (due to concentration of 
threats in the particular geographic area), the agencies' risk analysis 
is properly concluded after assessing rangewide status.
    The BRT did not identify any particular populations or portions of 
ranges for any of the 82 coral species as being significant or at a 
higher extinction risk, largely due to a lack of information regarding 
abundance and geographic distributions. No additional information on 
this topic was provided during the public engagement period. Because 
there is a general lack of species-specific data regarding quantitative 
abundance, distribution, diversity, and productivity of coral species, 
we are not able to identify any populations or portions of any of the 
``threatened'' or ``not warranted'' candidate species' ranges that can 
be considered unusually biologically significant. Further, we have no 
information to indicate that particular local threats are more severe 
in a particular portion of an individual species' range. We do not have 
any information that would help elucidate whether any species has 
significant populations nor whether any species is at higher exposure 
to threats in a particular area of its range. That is not to say that 
these conditions do not exist. It is just that we do not have any 
information on which to base a determination that any of the 82 
candidates are at elevated risk within a SPOIR. Further, we were not 
able to identify any portion of the species' range where threats are so 
actute or concentrated that, if the species were removed from that 
portion, would so impair the abundance, spatial distribution, 
productivity, and diversity of the species in its remaining range that 
it would be in danger of extinction. Thus, we did not identify any 
significant portions of any of the candidate species' ranges and our 
determinations on the entire species are based on the best available 
information.

Conservation Efforts

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires the Secretary, when making a 
listing determination for a species, to take into account those 
efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign nation to protect 
the species. In judging the efficacy of protective efforts, we rely on 
the Services' joint ``Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts 
When Making Listing Decisions'' (``PECE;'' 68 FR 15100; March 28, 
2003). The PECE is designed to guide determinations on whether any 
conservation efforts that have been recently adopted or implemented, 
but not yet proven to be successful, will result in recovering the 
species to the point at which listing is not warranted or contribute to 
forming a basis for listing a species as threatened rather than 
endangered. The purpose of the PECE is to ensure consistent and 
adequate evaluation of future or recently implemented conservation 
efforts identified in conservation agreements, conservation plans, 
management plans, and similar documents when making listing decisions. 
The PECE provides direction for the consideration of such conservation 
efforts that have not yet been implemented, or have been implemented 
but have not yet demonstrated effectiveness. The policy is expected to 
facilitate the development by states and other entities of conservation 
efforts that sufficiently improve a species' status so as to make 
listing the species as threatened or endangered unnecessary. The PECE 
established two basic criteria: (1) The certainty that the conservation 
efforts will be implemented, and (2) the certainty that the efforts 
will be effective. Satisfaction of the criteria for implementation and 
effectiveness establishes a given protective effort as a candidate for 
consideration, but does not mean that an effort will ultimately change 
the risk assessment for the species. Overall, the PECE analysis 
ascertains whether the formalized conservation effort improves the 
status of the species at the time a listing determination is made.
    Existing and planned protective efforts and their effectiveness 
with regard to the status of the 82 candidate coral species were 
thoroughly identified and are summarized in the Final Management 
Report. The report acknowledges innumerable conservation initiatives, 
projects, agreements, etc., that are either currently in place or 
planned in the future to address global and local threats to the 82 
candidate coral species.
    Various partnerships and initiatives exist to address climate 
change at the global level, as well as regionally throughout the world. 
While varying approaches are being used via conservation efforts, they 
share a common objective of reducing GHG emissions in participating 
countries. Therefore, their overall effectiveness can be inferred from 
an evaluation of the progress made thus far in reducing GHG emissions, 
both at the national level and in aggregate globally. Globally, GHG 
emissions have increased approximately 38 percent from 1990 to 2008. 
Based on the current state of international laws, regulations, and non-
regulatory protective efforts, total world GHG emissions are projected 
to increase to 97 percent above 1990 levels by 2035. Additionally, 
there are no foreseen conservation efforts for global threats that will 
significantly contribute to improved status of the 82 candidate 
species.
    The number of coral reef conservation programs and projects 
addressing local threats to the 82 candidate species continues to 
increase and expand. Many international agreements and conventions have 
been signed and ratified to assist in the recovery of coral reef 
resources. Additionally, voluntary marine protected areas have been 
established in numerous areas, outreach and education programs are 
increasingly growing in developing nations, and active coral reef 
restoration projects are becoming increasingly popular as a management 
tool. In many cases, the most effective conservation projects being 
conducted are non-governmental organization-sponsored coral reef 
management programs. In addition, most of the conservation efforts do 
an excellent job of raising awareness about the status of coral reefs 
around the world. However, although there are many laudable coral 
conservation efforts being implemented on a local level, these 
activities are only addressing minor anthropogenic threats that were 
ranked as either low or negligible in terms of their level of impact 
and extinction risk to corals (e.g., anchor damage, vessel strikes, and 
tourism). We therefore conclude that conservation efforts on global or 
local scales do not change the status determined for the 82 candidate 
species as a result of application of the Determination Tool.

Listing Determinations

    As described above in the Risk Analyses section, each of the 82 
listing decisions is based on the threat vulnerabilities, demography, 
and spatial structure for each species, which are in turn based on the 
information in the SRR, and SIR, and Final Management Report. The 
threat vulnerabilities,

[[Page 73248]]

demography, and spatial structure for each of the 82 candidate species 
are summarized below, along with the proposed listing status for each 
species. The relevant ESA section 4 factor is included in parentheses 
following the associated threat element.
    While we did not directly relate an ESA listing status to specific 
ranges of CRT scores that resulted from the BRT's extinction risk 
analysis, the CRT scores do provide a qualitative indication of 
relative extinction risk. There is agreement between the relative 
ranking of species according to CRT score and our determinations. Minor 
inconsistencies are a result of information not considered by the BRT 
for a particular species that either increased or decreased extinction 
risk. The BRT reviewed the Determination Tool and the inputs to the 
tool, and concurs that it is populated with the best available 
information. Note that we determine if the inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms is a contributing factor to a species' extinction 
risk (factor D) because the existing regulatory mechanisms fail to 
adequately control or mitigate the relevant high importance threats 
caused by global climate change.

Caribbean Species: Listing Determinations

    The seven Caribbean species are listed below by genus (five 
genera). A summary of the supporting data for the determinations and 
proposed listing status for each species is provided, with the relevant 
ESA factors noted (A, B, C, D, or E).

Agaricia (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Agaricia lamarcki's status are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); low relative recruitment rate (E); moderate overall 
distribution (based on narrow geographic distribution and wide depth 
distribution; E); restriction to the Caribbean (E); and inadequacy of 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. lamarcki warrants listing as 
threatened because of ESA factors C, D, and E.

Mycetophyllia (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Mycetophyllia ferox's status are: High 
vulnerability to disease (C); moderate vulnerability to ocean warming 
(E) and acidification (E); high vulnerability to nutrient over-
enrichment (A and E); rare general rangewide abundance (E); decreasing 
trend in abundance (E); low relative recruitment rate (E); moderate 
overall distribution (based on narrow geographic distribution and wide 
depth distribution (NMFS, 2012b, SIR Section 6.2.1); E); restriction to 
the Caribbean (E); and inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms (D). 
Therefore, M. ferox warrants listing as endangered because of ESA 
factors A, C, D, and E.

Dendrogyra (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Dendrogyra cylindrus' status are: High 
vulnerability to disease (C); moderate vulnerability to ocean warming 
(E) and acidification (E); rare general rangewide abundance (E); low 
relative recruitment rate (E); narrow overall distribution (based on 
narrow geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); 
restriction to the Caribbean (E); and inadequacy of regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, D. cylindrus warrants listing as endangered 
because of ESA factors C, D, and E.

Dichocoenia (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Dichocoenia stokesii's status are: High 
vulnerability to disease (C); moderate vulnerability to ocean warming 
(E) and acidification (E); moderate overall distribution (based on 
narrow geographic distribution and wide depth distribution; E); 
restriction to the Caribbean (E); and inadequacy of regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, D. stokesii warrants listing as threatened 
because of ESA factors C, D, and E.

Montastraea (3 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Montastraea faveolata's status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E) disease (C), and ocean 
acidification (E); high vulnerability to sedimentation (A and E) and 
nutrient over-enrichment (A and E); decreasing trend in abundance (E); 
low relative recruitment rate (E); moderate overall distribution (based 
on narrow geographic distribution and wide depth distribution (NMFS, 
2012b, SIR Section 6.5); E); restriction to the Caribbean (E); and 
inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. faveolata 
warrants listing as endangered because of ESA factors A, C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Montastraea franksi's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E) disease (C), and ocean acidification 
(E); high vulnerability to sedimentation (A and E) and nutrient over-
enrichment (A and E); decreasing trend in abundance (E); low relative 
recruitment rate (E); moderate overall distribution (based on narrow 
geographic distribution and wide depth distribution (NMFS, 2012b, SIR 
Section 6.5); E); restriction to the Caribbean (E); and inadequacy of 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. franksi warrants listing as 
endangered because of ESA factors A, C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Montastraea annularis's status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); disease (C), and ocean 
acidification (E); high vulnerability to sedimentation (A and E) and 
nutrient over-enrichment (A and E); decreasing trend in abundance (E); 
low relative recruitment rate (E); narrow overall distribution (based 
on narrow geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); 
restriction to the Caribbean; and inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms 
(D). Therefore, M. annularis warrants listing as endangered because of 
ESA factors A, C, D, and E.

Indo-Pacific Species: Listing Determinations

    The 75 Indo-Pacific species are listed below by genus (24 genera). 
A summary of the supporting data for the determinations for each of the 
75 species is provided, with the relevant ESA factors noted (A, B, C, 
D, or E).

Millepora (2 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Millepora foveolata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); narrow overall distribution (based on narrow geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. foveolata warrants 
listing as endangered due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Millepora tuberosa's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
narrow overall distribution (based on narrow geographic distribution 
and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. tuberosa warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Heliopora (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Heliopora coerulea's status are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E) and acidification (E); low 
vulnerability to disease (C); common generalized range wide abundance 
(E); and wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and wide depth distribution, E). Therefore, H. coerulea

[[Page 73249]]

is not warranted for listing under the ESA.

Pocillopora (3 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Pocillopora danae's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. danae warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to P. elegans' (East Pacific) status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); overall moderate distribution (based on narrow 
geographic distribution and wide depth distribution; E); restricted to 
the eastern Pacific; E; low relative recruitment rate (E); and 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. elegans 
(East Pacific) warrants listing as endangered due to ESA factors C, D, 
and E.
    Elements that contribute to P. elegans' (Indo-Pacific) status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and wide depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. elegans (Indo-
Pacific) warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Seriatopora (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Seriatopora aculeata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, S. aculeata warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Acropora (22 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Acropora aculeus' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and 
moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. aculeus warrants listing as threatened 
due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora acuminata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. acuminata warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora aspera's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
narrow overall distribution (based on moderate geographic distribution 
and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. aspera warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora dendrum's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); rare generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, A. dendrum warrants listing 
as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora donei's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. donei warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora globiceps' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
narrow overall distribution (based on moderate geographic distribution 
and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. globiceps warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora horrida's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. horrida warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora jacquelineae's status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); rare generalized range wide 
abundance (E); narrow overall distribution (based on narrow geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. jacquelineae warrants 
listing as endangered due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora listeri's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized range wide abundance 
(E); overall moderate distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. listeri warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora lokani's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); rare generalized range wide abundance (E); 
overall narrow distribution (based on narrow geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. lokani warrants listing as 
endangered due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora microlados' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. microclados warrants listing 
as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora palmerae's status are: High 
vulnerability

[[Page 73250]]

to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease (C) and 
acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. palmerae warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora paniculata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. paniculata warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora pharaonis' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E) and disease (C); moderate 
vulnerability to acidification (E); common generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); narrow overall distribution (based on narrow geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. pharaonis warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora polystoma's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E) and disease (C); moderate 
vulnerability to acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); moderate overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. polystoma warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora retusa's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); moderate overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. retusa warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora rudis' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); narrow overall distribution (based on narrow geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. rudis warrants 
listing as endangered due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora speciosa's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. speciosa warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora striata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. striata warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora tenella's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and wide depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. tenella warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora vaughani's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. vaughani warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora verweyi's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
moderate overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. verweyi warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Anacropora (2 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Anacropora puertogalerae's status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate 
geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. 
puertogalerae warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, 
and E.
    Elements that contribute to A. spinosa's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); narrow overall distribution (based on narrow geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. spinosa warrants 
listing as endangered due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Astreopora (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Astreopora cucullata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); moderate overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, A. cucullata warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Isopora (2 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Isopora crateriformis's status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate 
geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, I. 
crateriformis warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, 
and E.
    Elements that contribute to I. cuneata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
moderate

[[Page 73251]]

overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and shallow 
depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms. Therefore, I. cuneata warrants listing as threatened due to 
ESA factors C, D, and E.

Montipora (7 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Montipora angulata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. angulata warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Factors that contribute to M. australiensis' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. australiens warrants listing 
as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Factors that contribute to M. calcarea's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, M. calcarea warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Factors that contribute to M. caliculata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. caliculata warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Factors that contribute to the status of Montipora dilatata/
flabellata/turgescens are: High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); 
moderate vulnerability to disease (C) and acidification (E); common 
generalized range wide abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based 
on wide geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); 
and inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. 
dilatata/flabellata/turgescens warrants listing as threatened due to 
ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Factors that contribute to M. lobulata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); overall wide distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, M. lobulata warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Factors that contribute to the status of Montipora patula (/
verrili) are: High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate 
vulnerability to disease (C) and acidification (E); common relative 
rangewide abundance (E); narrow overall distribution (based on narrow 
geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, Montipora 
patula (/verrili) warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, 
D, and E.

Alveopora (3 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Alveopora allingi's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon relative rangewide abundance (E); 
moderate overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. allingi warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors D and E.
    Elements that contribute to Alveopora fenestrata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon relative rangewide abundance (E); 
wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and 
moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. fenestrata warrants listing as threatened 
due to ESA factors C, D and E.
    Elements that contribute to Alveopora verrilliana's status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification; uncommon relative rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and wide depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. verrilliana warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D and E.

Porites (4 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Porites horizontilata's status are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. horizontilata 
warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Porites napapora's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
narrow overall distribution (based on moderate geographic distribution 
and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. napapora warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Porites nigrescens' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and 
moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. nigrescens warrants listing as threatened 
due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to the status of Porites (Clade 1 forma 
pukoensis) are: Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease 
(C), and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); 
and wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution 
and moderate depth distribution; E). Therefore, Porites (Clade 1 forma 
pukoensis) is not warranted for listing under the ESA.

Psammocora (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Psammocora stellata's status are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); and 
moderate overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E). Therefore, P. 
stellata is not warranted for listing under the ESA.

[[Page 73252]]

Leptoseris (2 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Leptoseris incrustans 
are: Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); and 
wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and 
wide depth distribution; E). Therefore, L. incrustans is not warranted 
for listing under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to the status of L. yabei are: Moderate 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and acidification (E); 
uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide overall 
distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and wide depth 
distribution; E). Therefore, L. yabei is not warranted for listing 
under the ESA.

Pachyseris (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Pachyseris rugosa are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. rugosa warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Pavona (5 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Pavona bipartita's status are: Moderate 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and acidification (E); 
uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide overall 
distribution (based on wide geographic range and moderate depth 
distribution; E). Therefore, P. bipartita is not warranted for listing 
under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to the status of P. cactus are: Moderate 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and acidification (E); 
common generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide overall 
distribution (based on wide geographic range and moderate depth 
distribution; E). Therefore, P. cactus is not warranted for listing 
under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to the status of P. decussata are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide 
overall distribution (based on wide geographic range and moderate depth 
distribution; E). Therefore, P. decussata is not warranted for listing 
under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to the status of P. diffluens are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); narrow 
overall distribution (based on narrow geographic range and moderate 
depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. diffluens warrants listing as threatened 
due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to the status of P. venosa are: Moderate 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and acidification (E); 
uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide overall 
distribution (based on wide geographic range and moderate depth 
distribution; E). Therefore, P. venosa is not warranted for listing 
under the ESA.

Galaxea (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Galaxea astreata are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide 
overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and wide 
depth distribution (NMFS 2012b, SIR Section 7.16); E). Therefore, G. 
astreata is not warranted for listing under the ESA.

Pectinia (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Pectinia alcicornis are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
range and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. alcicornis warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Acanthastrea (4 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Acanthatsrea brevis are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
range and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. brevis warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to the status of Acanthastrea hemprichii 
are: High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
range and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. hemprichii warrants listing as 
threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to the status of A. ishigakiensis are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); moderate overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. ishigakiensis 
warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to the status of Acanthastrea regularis 
are: High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate 
geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. 
regularis warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D, and 
E.

Barabattoia (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Barabattoia laddi are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); narrow 
overall distribution (based on moderate geographic distribution and 
shallow depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, B. laddi warrants listing as threatened due 
to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Caulastrea (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Caulastrea echinulata's status are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); narrow 
overall distribution (based on narrow geographic distribution and 
moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms (D). Therefore, C. echinulata warrants listing as threatened 
due to ESA factors C, D, and E.

Cyphastrea (2 Species)

    Elements that contribute to Cyphastrea agassizi's status are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean

[[Page 73253]]

warming (E), disease (C), and acidification (E); uncommon generalized 
rangewide abundance (E); and wide overall distribution (based on wide 
geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E). Therefore, 
C. agassizi is not warranted for listing under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to C. ocellina's status are: Moderate 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and acidification (E); 
uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide overall 
distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and moderate depth 
distribution; E). Therefore, C. ocellina is not warranted for listing 
under the ESA.

Euphyllia (3 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Euphyllia cristata are: 
High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); moderate overall distribution (based on moderate 
geographic distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, E. 
cristata warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D and E.
    Elements that contribute to the status of E. paraancora are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); wide overall distribution (based on moderate geographic 
distribution and wide depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, E. paraancora warrants 
listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D and E.
    Elements that contribute to the status of E. paradivisa are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to disease 
(C) and acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance 
(E); narrow overall distribution (based on narrow geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, E. paradivisa warrants 
listing as endangered due to ESA factors C, D and E.

Physogyra (1 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Physogyra lichtensteini 
are: High vulnerability to ocean warming (E); moderate vulnerability to 
disease (C) and acidification (E); common generalized rangewide 
abundance (E); wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic 
distribution and moderate depth distribution; E); and inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, P. lichtensteini 
warrants listing as threatened due to ESA factors C, D and E.

Turbinaria (4 Species)

    Elements that contribute to the status of Turbinaria mesenterina 
are: Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide 
overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and 
moderate depth distribution; E). Therefore, T. mesenterina is not 
warranted for listing under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to the status of T. peltata are: Moderate 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and acidification (E); 
common generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide overall 
distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and moderate depth 
distribution; E). Therefore, T. peltata is not warranted for listing 
under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to the status of T. reniformis are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); common generalized rangewide abundance (E); and wide 
overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and 
moderate depth distribution; E). Therefore, T. reniformis is not 
warranted for listing under the ESA.
    Elements that contribute to the status of T. stellulata are: 
Moderate vulnerability to ocean warming (E), disease (C), and 
acidification (E); uncommon generalized rangewide abundance (E); and 
wide overall distribution (based on wide geographic distribution and 
moderate depth distribution; E). Therefore, T. stellulata is not 
warranted for listing under the ESA.

Reclassification of Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis

    After reviewing the status of the 82 candidate species, we also 
evaluated the current status of the two threatened corals in the 
Caribbean, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis. The two species were 
listed as threatened in May 2006 due to a combination of factors 
including disease, elevated sea surface temperature, and hurricanes (70 
FR 24359; May 9, 2006). The species were listed as threatened because 
we determined they were likely to become in danger of extinction within 
the foreseeable future, as defined in that case. We based our 
determination on the information available at that time, including the 
high number of colonies of the species, the species' large geographic 
ranges that remained intact, and the fact that asexual reproduction 
provided a source for new colonies that can buffer natural demographic 
and environmental variability. We concluded that both species would 
retain significant potential for persistence and they were not in 
danger of extinction throughout their ranges at that time.
    This BRT, during its deliberation on developing its method for 
evaluating the 82 candidate species, evaluated the likelihood of A. 
palmata and A. cervicornis falling below the CRT by 2050 as 75 percent 
and 73 percent, respectively. The BRT based this evaluation on its 
general knowledge of the current status of the two species and the 
threats affecting them, but it did not specifically collect the best 
available scientific and commercial data available as it did for the 82 
candidate species. The relatively high likelihoods of the two species 
falling below the CRT by 2050, along with new understanding of the 
impacts of some threats on these species, led us to re-evaluate the two 
species' status. We collected the best available scientific and 
commercial information on the status of the two species. We also relied 
on the information in the SRR and SIR on the characteristics shared by 
all species in the genus Acropora (described above). Specifically, the 
genus Acropora is highly susceptible to bleaching from ocean warming, 
ocean acidification, disease, and most local threats. Those 
susceptibilities coupled with relatively high exposure rates lead to 
high vulnerabilities to the threats that increase extinction risk for 
both these species.
    Our final determination to list A. palmata and A. cervicornis as 
threatened, made over 8 years ago, found that the species were not yet 
in danger of extinction, but were likely to become so within the next 
30 years, citing the large number of remaining individuals, their 
large, intact geographic ranges, and their ability to reproduce through 
fragmentation. Since then population declines have continued to occur, 
with certain populations of both species decreasing up to an additional 
50 percent or more since the time of listing (Lundgren, 2008; Muller et 
al. 2008; Williams et al. unpubl. data; Williams et al., 2008; Colella 
et al., 2012; Rogers and Muller et al., 2012). Further, there are 
documented instances of recruitment failure in some populations 
(Williams, et al., 2008). In addition, minimal levels of thermal stress 
(e.g., 30 degrees C)

[[Page 73254]]

have been shown to impair larval development, larval survivorship, and 
settlement success of A. palmata (Randall and Szmant, 2009) and near-
future levels of acidification have been demonstrated to impair 
fertilization, settlement success, and post-settlement growth rates in 
A. palmata (Albright et al., 2012). We also understand that on average 
50 percent of the colonies are clones, meaning the effective number of 
genetic individuals is half the total population size (Baums et al., 
2006). The species' ranges are not known to have contracted, but with 
continued declines local extirpations are likely, resulting in a 
reduction of absolute range size. Furthermore, we are taking into 
account that the BRT identified restriction to the Caribbean as a 
spatial factor increasing extinction risk. Also, while asexual 
reproduction (fragmentation) provides a source for new colonies (albeit 
clones) that can buffer natural demographic and environmental 
variability remains true, reliance on asexual reproduction is not 
sufficient to prevent extinction of the species. Last, the previous 
status review and listing determination underestimated the global 
climate change-associated impacts to A. palmata and A. cervicornis, 
based on our current knowledge of trends in emissions, likely warming 
scenarios, and ocean acidification. In particular, in the previous 
determination, we identified ocean acidification only as a factor that 
``may be contributing'' to the status of two species, in comparison to 
our current understanding that ocean acidification is one of the three 
highest order threats affecting extinction risk for corals.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora palmata's status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); ocean acidification (E) and disease 
(C); high vulnerability to sedimentation (A and E) and nutrient over-
enrichment (A and E); uncommon abundance (E); decreasing trend in 
abundance (E); low relative recruitment rate (E); narrow overall 
distribution (E); restriction to the Caribbean (E); and inadequacy of 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. palmata warrants listing as 
endangered because of ESA factors A, C, D, and E.
    Elements that contribute to Acropora cervicornis' status are: High 
vulnerability to ocean warming (E); ocean acidification (E) and disease 
(C); high vulnerability to sedimentation (A and E) and nutrient over-
enrichment (A and E); uncommon abundance (E); decreasing trend in 
abundance (E); low relative recruitment rate (E); narrow overall 
distribution (E); restriction to the Caribbean (E); and inadequacy of 
regulatory mechanisms (D). Therefore, A. cervicornis warrants listing 
as endangered because of ESA factors A, C, D, and E.

Summary of Determinations

    We are responsible for determining whether each of the 82 candidate 
coral species are threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.). Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires us to make 
listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and 
commercial data available after conducting reviews of the statuses of 
the species and after taking into account efforts being made by any 
state or foreign nation to protect the species. We concluded that 
conservation efforts are not protecting the candidate coral species in 
a way that alters our determination that these corals are endangered or 
threatened. Finally, section 4(b)(1)(B) of the ESA requires us to give 
consideration to species which (1) have been designated as requiring 
protection from unrestricted commerce by any foreign nation, or (2) 
have been identified as in danger of extinction, or likely to become so 
within the foreseeable future, by any state agency or by any agency of 
a foreign nation. All stony corals are listed under Appendix II of the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora, which regulates international trade of species to ensure 
survival. Thus, the proposed listing is consistent with the 
Convention's classification. Dendrogyra cylindrus is listed as 
threatened by the State of Florida and all stony corals are protected 
under the U.S. Virgin Islands Indigenous and Endangered Species Act of 
1990. All the proposed corals are listed in the IUCN Red List of 
Threatened Species as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. 
Thus, the proposed listing is consistent with these classifications.
    We have determined that the following 12 species warrant listing as 
endangered: In the Caribbean (five): Dendrogyra cylindrus, Montastraea 
annularis, Montastraea faveolata, Montastraea franksi, and 
Mycetophyllia ferox; and in the Indo-Pacific (seven): Millepora 
foveolata, Pocillopora elegans (eastern Pacific), Acropora 
jacquelineae, Acropora lokani, Acropora rudis, Anacropora spinosa, and 
Euphyllia paradivisa. The following 54 species warrant listing as 
threatened: In the Caribbean (two), Agaricia lamarcki and Dichocoenia 
stokesii; and in the Indo-Pacific (52): Millepora tuberosa, Pocillopora 
danae, Pocillopora elegans (Indo-Pacific), Seriatopora aculeata, 
Acropora aculeus, Acropora acuminata, Acropora aspera, Acropora 
dendrum, Acropora donei, Acropora globiceps, Acropora horrida, Acropora 
listeri, Acropora microclados, Acropora palmerae, Acropora paniculata, 
Acropora pharaonis, Acropora polystoma, Acropora retusa, Acropora 
speciosa, Acropora striata, Acropora tenella, Acropora vaughani, 
Acropora verweyi, Anacropora puertogalerae, Astreopora cucullata, 
Isopora crateriformis, Isopora cuneata, Montipora angulata, Montipora 
australiensis, Montipora calcarea, Montipora caliculata, Montipora 
dilatata/flabellata/turgescens, Montipora lobulata, Montipora patula/
verrilli, Alveopora allingi, Alveopora fenestrata, Alveopora 
verrilliana, Porites horizontalata, Porites napopora, Porites 
nigrescens, Acanthastrea brevis, Acanthastrea hemprichii, Acanthastrea 
ishigakiensis, Acanthastrea regularis, Pachyseris rugosa, Pectinia 
alcicornis, Barabattoia laddi, Pavona diffluens, Caulastrea echinulata, 
Euphyllia cristata, Euphyllia paraancora, and Physogyra lichtensteini. 
Two species in the Caribbean currently listed as threatened warrant 
reclassification as endangered: Acropora palmata and Acropora 
cervicornis. A total of 16 candidate species (all in the Indo-Pacific) 
do not warrant listing as endangered or threatened: Heliopora coerulea, 
Cyphastrea agassizi, Cyphastrea ocellina, Galaxea astreata, Leptoseris 
incrustans, Leptoseris yabei, Pavona bipartita, Pavona cactus, Pavona 
decussata, Pavona venosa, Porites (Clade 1 forma pukoensis), Psammocora 
stellata, Turbinaria mesenterina, Turbinaria peltata, Turbinaria 
reniformis, and Turbinaria stellulata.

Effects of Listing

    Conservation measures provided for species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the ESA include recovery plans (16 U.S.C. 1553(f)), 
critical habitat designations, Federal agency consultation requirements 
(16 U.S.C. 1536), and prohibitions on taking (16 U.S.C. 1538). 
Recognition of the species' plight through listing promotes 
conservation actions by Federal and state agencies, private groups, and 
individuals, as well as the international community. Should the 
proposed listing be made final, a recovery program could be 
implemented, and critical habitat will be designated to the maximum 
extent prudent and determinable. We anticipate that protective 
regulations for threatened corals and recovery programs for all the 
proposed corals may need to be developed in the context of

[[Page 73255]]

conserving aquatic ecosystem health. The cooperation and participation 
of many Federal, state and private sector actors will be needed to 
effectively and efficiently conserve the listed coral species and the 
ecosystems upon which they depend.
    Should the proposed reclassification of Acropora palmata and A. 
cervicornis become final, the existing critical habitat designation (50 
CFR 226.216) would remain valid, as the bases for the critical habitat 
designated for these species are not changed by revising their status 
from threatened to endangered. The specific areas within the species' 
occupied geographical area that contain the substrate feature that is 
essential to the conservation of the species and which may require 
special management considerations or protection have not changed since 
designation.
    The existing protective regulations promulgated pursuant to ESA 
section 4(d) (50 CFR 223.208) for Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis 
would no longer be valid because such rules apply only to threatened 
species. The take prohibition of ESA Section 9 instead applies directly 
to endangered species. Therefore, should the proposed reclassification 
become final, we would revoke the existing regulations.

Identifying Section 7 Conference and Consultation Requirements

    Section 7(a)(4) of the ESA and NMFS/FWS regulations require Federal 
agencies to confer with us on actions likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of species proposed for listing, or likely to 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical 
habitat. If a proposed species is ultimately listed, Federal agencies 
must consult under section 7 on any action they authorize, fund, or 
carry out if those actions may affect the listed species or designated 
critical habitat. Based on currently available information, we can 
conclude that examples of Federal actions that may affect the 68 coral 
species proposed to be listed or reclassified include, but are not 
limited to: Energy projects, discharge of pollution from point sources, 
non-point source pollution, dredging, pile-driving, setting of water 
quality standards, vessel traffic, aquaculture facilities, military 
activities, and fisheries management practices.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the ESA as: ``(i) The 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 1533 
of this title, on which are found those physical or biological features 
(I) essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may 
require special management considerations or protection; and (ii) 
specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of 1533 of this 
title, upon a determination by the Secretary that such areas are 
essential for the conservation of the species'' (16 U.S.C. 1532(5)(A)). 
``Conservation'' means the use of all methods and procedures needed to 
bring the species to the point at which listing under the ESA is no 
longer necessary (16 U.S.C. 1532(3)). Section 4(a)(3)(A) of the ESA 
requires that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, critical 
habitat be designated concurrently with the final listing of a species 
(16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)(i)). To the maximum extent prudent and 
determinable, we will publish a proposed designation of critical 
habitat for the coral species in a separate rule. Designations of 
critical habitat must be based on the best scientific data available 
and must take into consideration the economic, national security, and 
other relevant impacts of specifying any particular area as critical 
habitat. Once critical habitat is designated, section 7 of the ESA 
requires Federal agencies to ensure that they do not fund, authorize, 
or carry out any actions that are likely to destroy or adversely modify 
that habitat. This requirement is in addition to the section 7 
requirement that Federal agencies ensure that their actions do not 
jeopardize the continued existence of listed species.

Section 9 Take Prohibitions

    Because we are proposing to list seven Caribbean species, one in 
the Eastern Pacific, and six in the Indo-Pacific as endangered, all of 
the take prohibitions of section 9(a)(1) of the ESA will apply to those 
particular species if they become listed as endangered. These include 
prohibitions against importing, exporting, engaging in foreign or 
interstate commerce, or ``taking'' of the species. ``Take'' is defined 
under the ESA as ``to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, 
trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.'' 
These prohibitions apply to all persons subject to the jurisdiction of 
the United States, including in the United States, its territorial sea, 
or on the high seas.
    The ESA section 9 prohibitions do not automatically apply to 
threatened species listed by NMFS. Therefore, pursuant to ESA section 
4(d), we will evaluate whether there are protective regulations we deem 
necessary and advisable to the conservation of any of the candidate 
species listed as threatened in the final listing rule, including 
application of some or all of the take prohibitions.

Identification of Those Activities That Would Constitute a Violation of 
Section 9 of the ESA

    On July 1, 1994, NMFS and FWS published a policy (59 FR 34272) that 
requires us to identify, to the maximum extent practicable at the time 
a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the ESA. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a listing on 
proposed and ongoing activities within a species' range. Based on 
available information, we believe the following categories of 
activities are those most likely to result in a violation of the ESA 
section 9 prohibitions. We emphasize that whether a violation results 
from a particular activity is entirely dependent upon the facts and 
circumstances of each incident. The mere fact that an activity may fall 
within one of these categories does not mean that the specific activity 
will cause a violation; due to such factors as location and scope, 
specific actions may not result in direct or indirect adverse effects 
on the species. Further, an activity not listed may in fact result in a 
violation. However, based on currently available information, we 
conclude that the following types of activities are those that may be 
most likely to violate the prohibitions in section 9:
    1. Activities that result in elevated water temperatures in coral 
habitat that causes bleaching or other degradation of physiological 
function of listed corals.
    2. Activities that result in water acidification in coral habitat 
that causes reduced calcification, reproductive impairment, or other 
degradation of physiological function of listed corals.
    3. Removing, damaging, poisoning, or contaminating listed corals.
    4. Removing, poisoning, or contaminating plants, wildlife, or other 
biota required by listed corals for feeding, sheltering, or completing 
other essential life history functions.
    5. Harm to the species' habitat resulting in injury or death of the 
species, such as removing or altering substrate, vegetation, or other 
physical structures.
    6. Altering water flow or currents to an extent that impairs 
spawning, feeding, or other essential behavioral patterns of listed 
corals.
    7. Discharging pollutants, such as oil, toxic chemicals, 
radioactivity,

[[Page 73256]]

carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, or organic nutrient-laden water, 
including sewage water, into listed corals' habitat to an extent that 
harms or kills listed corals.
    8. Releasing non-indigenous or artificially propagated species into 
listed corals' habitat or locations resulting in mortality or harm to 
listed corals.
    9. Interstate and foreign commerce dealing in listed corals, and 
importing or exporting listed corals.
    10. Shoreline and riparian disturbances (whether in the riverine, 
estuarine, marine, or floodplain environment) that may harm or kill 
listed corals, for instance by disrupting or preventing the 
reproduction, settlement, reattachment, development, or normal 
physiology of listed corals. Such disturbances could include land 
development, run-off, dredging, and disposal activities that result in 
direct deposition of sediment on corals, shading, or covering of 
substrate for fragment reattachment or larval settlement.
    11. Activities that modify water chemistry in coral habitat to an 
extent that disrupts or prevents the reproduction, development, or 
normal physiology of listed corals.
    This list provides examples of the types of activities that could 
have the potential to cause a violation, but it is not exhaustive. It 
is intended to help people avoid violating the ESA should these 
proposed listings become final after public comment. Further, the 
scientific research community is encouraged to submit applications for 
research to be conducted within the United States on the seven 
Caribbean species and the seven Indo-Pacific species being proposed as 
endangered so that the research can continue uninterrupted should they 
become listed as endangered.

Policies on Role of Peer Review

    In December 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued 
a Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review establishing 
minimum peer review standards, a transparent process for public 
disclosure of peer review planning, and opportunities for public 
participation. The OMB Bulletin, implemented under the Information 
Quality Act (Public Law 106-554) is intended to enhance the quality and 
credibility of the Federal government's scientific information, and 
applies to influential or highly influential scientific information 
disseminated on or after June 16, 2005. To satisfy our requirements 
under the OMB Bulletin, the BRT obtained independent peer review of the 
draft Status Review Report, and NMFS obtained independent peer review 
of the draft Management Report. Independent specialists were selected 
from the academic and scientific community, Federal and state agencies, 
and the private sector for this review. All peer reviewer comments were 
addressed prior to dissemination of the final Status Review Report and 
publication of this proposed rule.
    On July 1, 1994, the Services published a policy for peer review of 
scientific data (59 FR 34270). The intent of the peer review policy is 
to ensure that listings are based on the best scientific and commercial 
data available. Prior to a final listing, we will solicit the expert 
opinions of three qualified specialists, concurrent with the public 
comment period. Independent specialists will be selected from the 
academic and scientific community, Federal and State agencies, and the 
private sector.

Public Comments Solicited

    To ensure that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and effective as possible, we are soliciting comments 
from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, industry, and any other interested parties. We must base our 
final determination on the best available scientific and commercial 
information when making listing determinations. We cannot, for example, 
consider the economic effects of a listing determination. Final 
promulgation of any regulation(s) on these species or withdrawal of 
this listing proposal will take into consideration the comments and any 
additional information we receive, and such communications may lead to 
a final regulation that differs from this proposal or result in a 
withdrawal of this listing proposal.

Solicitation of Information

    In addition to comments on the proposed rule, we are soliciting 
information on features and areas that may support designations of 
critical habitat for the coral species newly proposed to be listed. As 
to Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, for which critical habitat has 
already been designated, we have broad discretion to revise existing 
designations from time to time as appropriate, and we may decide to 
exercise this discretion based on information received and available on 
potential critical habitat features for the other coral species. 
Information provided should identify the physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species and areas that 
contain these features for the coral species proposed to be listed. 
Areas outside the occupied geographical area should also be identified 
if such areas themselves are essential to the conservation of the 
species. Essential features may include, but are not limited to, 
features specific to individual species' ranges, habitats and life 
history characteristics within the following general categories of 
habitat features: (1) Space for individual growth and for normal 
behavior; (2) food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional 
or physiological requirements; (3) cover or shelter; (4) sites for 
reproduction and development of offspring; and (5) habitats that are 
protected from disturbance or are representative of the historical, 
geographical, and ecological distributions of the species (50 CFR 
424.12(b)). ESA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(h) specify 
that critical habitat shall not be designated within foreign countries 
or in other areas outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, we request 
information only on potential areas of critical habitat within waters 
in U.S. jurisdiction.
    For features and areas potentially qualifying as critical habitat, 
we also request information describing: (1) Activities or other threats 
to the essential features or activities that could be affected by 
designating them as critical habitat, and (2) the positive and negative 
economic, national security and other relevant impacts, including 
benefits to the recovery of the species, likely to result if these 
areas are designated as critical habitat.

Public Hearing Dates and Locations

    Public hearings will be held at 20 locations in Puerto Rico, the 
U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana 
Islands, and American Samoa, during the public comment period. The 
public hearings in Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and 
American Samoa will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to gather 
formal public comments on this proposed rule, preceded by town hall 
meetings from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to provide information about the 
proposed rule. The specific dates and locations of these meetings are 
listed below:
    (1) Monday, January 14, 2013, at the Nova Southeastern University 
Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystem Science, 8000 North Ocean 
Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004, 7-9 p.m.
    (2) Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at the John Pennekamp State Park 
Visitors Center, 102601 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, Florida 33037, 7-9 
p.m.

[[Page 73257]]

    (3) Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery 
Center, 35 East Quay Road, Key West, FL 33040, 7-9 p.m.
    (4) Monday, February 4, 2013, at the Department of Natural and 
Environmental Resources, 4th Floor Conference Room, Road 8838, km. 6.3, 
Sector El Cinco, R[iacute]o Piedras, Puerto Rico, 6-8 p.m.
    (5) Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at the University of Puerto Rico--
Mayag[uuml]ez Campus, Salas Eugene Francis, Physics Building, Room 
 229, Mayag[uuml]ez, Puerto Rico, 6-8 p.m.
    (6) Wednesday, February 6, 2013, at the Buck Island Reef National 
Monument, 2100 Church Street, 100, Christiansted, St. Croix, 
U.S. Virgin Islands, 7-9 p.m.
    (7) Thursday, February 7, 2013, at the Windward Passage Hotel, 
Veterans Drive, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, 7-9 
p.m.
    (8) Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at the Mokupapapa Discovery Center, 
308 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo, HI 96720, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (9) Thursday, January 24, 2013, at the Kahakai Elementary School, 
76147 Royal Poinciana Drive, Kailua Kona, HI 96740, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (10) Monday, January 28, 2013, at the Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 
Ainoa Street Kaunakakai, Molokai, HI 96748, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (11) Wednesday, January 30, 2013, at the J. Walter Cameron Center, 
95 Mahalani St., Wailuku, HI 96796, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (12) Monday, February 4, 2013, at the Kauai Veteran's Center, 3125 
Kapule Highway, Lihue, HI 96766, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (13) February 7, 2013, at the Tokai University, 2241 Kapiolani 
Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96826, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (14) Monday, February 11, 2013, at the Guam Hilton, 202 Hilton 
Road, Tumon Bay, Hagatna, 96913, Guam, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (15) Tuesday, February 12, 2013, at the Multipurpose Center, Beach 
Road, Susupe Saipan, 96950, MP, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (16) Tuesday, February 13, 2013, at Sadie's by the Sea, Main Rd., 
Pago Pago, Tutuila 96799, American Samoa, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (17) Wednesday, February 13, 2013, at the Fleming Hotel, P.O. Box 
68, Tinian, 96952, MP, 5-9:30 p.m.
    (18) Friday, February 15, 2013, at the Mayor's Office, Tatachog 
Rd., Rota, 96961, MP, 5-9:30 p.m.

References

Albright, R. 2012. Effects of ocean acidification on early life 
history stages of Caribbean scleractinian corals, University of 
Miami, pp. 157.
Brainard, R.E., C. Birkeland, C.M. Eakin, P. McElhany, M.W. Miller, 
M. Patterson, and G.A. Piniak. 2011. Status Review Report of 82 
candidate coral species petitioned under the U.S. Endangered Species 
Act. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo., NOAA-TM-NMFS-PIFSC-27, 530 
P. + 1 appendix.
Baums, I.B., M.W. Miller, M.E. Hellberg. 2006. Geographic variation 
in clonal structure in a reef-building Caribbean coral, Acropora 
palmata. Ecological Monographs 76(4): 503-519.
Burck, J., C. Bals, and L. Parker. 2010. The Climate Change 
Performance Index Results 2011. Germanwatch and Climate Action 
Network Europe. 20pp.
Colella, M., Ruzicka, J.A. Kidney, J.M. Morrison, V. B. Brinkhuis. 
2012. Cold-water event of January 2010 results in catastrophic 
benthic mortality on patch reefs in the Florida Keys. Coral Reefs: 
1-12.
Cubasch, U.,G.A. Meehl, A. Abe-Ouchi, S. Brinkop, M. Claussen, M. 
Collins, J. Evans, I. Fischer-Bruns, G. Flato, J.C. Fyfe, A. 
Ganopolski, J.M. Gregory, Z.-Z. Hu, F. Joos, T. Knutson, R. Knutti, 
C. Landsea, L. Mearns, C. Milly, J.F.B. Mitchell, T. Nozawa, H. 
Paeth, J. R[auml]is[auml]nen, R. Sausen, S. Smith, T. Stocker, A. 
Timmermann, U. Ulbrich, A. Weaver, J. Wegner, P. Whetton, T. Wigley, 
M. Winton, F. Zwiers. 2001. Projections of future climate change. 
In: Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of 
Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Houghton, J.T.,Y. Ding, 
D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and 
C.A. Johnson (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United 
Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 526-582.
den Elzen, M. and N. Hohne. 2008. Reductions of greenhouse gas 
emissions in Annex I and non-Annex I countries for meeting 
concentration stabilisation targets: An editorial comment. Climatic 
Change 91:249-274.
Global Carbon Project. 2010. 10 Years of Advancing Knowledge on the 
Global Carbon Cycle and its Management. (Authors: Lavinia Poruschi, 
Shobhakar Dhakal and Josep Canadell). Tsukuba: Global Carbon Project 
Report No. 7. pp. 14.
Gupta, S., et al. 2007. Policies, Instruments and Co-operative 
Arrangements. In B. Metz, O. R. Davidson, P. R. Bosch, R. Dave and 
L. A. Meyer (Eds.), Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of 
Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK.: Cambridge 
University Press.
Leadley, P., H.M Pereira, R. Alkemade, J.F. Fernandez-Manjarres, V. 
Proenca, J.P.W. Scharlemann, M.J, Walpole. 2010. Biodiversity 
Scenarios: Projections of 21st Century Change in Biodiversity and 
Associated Ecosystem Services. Secretariat of the Convention on 
Biological Diversity. Montreal, Technical Series no. 50, pp. 132.
Light, A. 2010. Progress from the Copenhagen Accord. Center for 
American Progress. February 9, 2010. 4pp.
Lundgren, I. 2008. The decline of elkhorn coral at Buck Island Reef 
National Monument: Protecting the first threatened coral species. 
National Park Science 25:36-43.
Muller, E.M., Rogers, C.S., Spitzack, A.S., van Woesik, R. 2008. 
Bleaching increases likelihood of disease on Acropora palmata 
(Lamarck) in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands. Coral Reefs 
27:191-195
National Marine Fisheries Service. 2012b. Supplemental Information 
Report for 82 Candidate Coral Species Petitioned Under the U.S. 
Endangered Species Act. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA NMFS Pacific 
Islands and Southeast Regional Offices, Honolulu, HI, and St. 
Petersburg, FL.
National Marine Fisheries Service. 2012c. Final Management Report 
for 82 Candidate Coral Species Petitioned Under the U.S. Endangered 
Species Act. Assessment of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms, Other 
Manmade Factors, and Conservation Efforts. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 
NOAA NMFS Pacific Islands and Southeast Regional Offices, Honolulu, 
HI, and St. Petersburg, FL.
O'Neill, B.C. and M. Oppenheimer. 2002. Dangerous Climate Impacts 
and the Kyoto Protocol. Science 296: 1971-1972.
Parry, M. 2010. Copenhagen number crunch. Nature Reports Climate 
Change 4: 18-19.
Pew Center for Global Climate Change. 2010a. Adding up the Numbers: 
Mitigation Pledges under the Copenhagen Accord. 2pp.
Randall, C., Szmant, A. 2009. Elevated temperature affects 
development, survivorship, and settlement of the elkhorn coral, 
Acropora palmata (Lamarck 1816). Biological Bulletin 217:269-282.
Rogelj, J., J. Nabel, C. Chen, W. Hare, K. Markmann, M. Meinshausen, 
M. Schaeffer, K. Macey, N. H[ouml]hne. 2010. Copenhagen Accord 
pledges are paltry. Nature 464(7292): 1126-1128.
Solomon, S., G.-K. Plattner, R. Knutti, and P. Friedlingstein. 2009. 
Irreversible Climate Change Due To Carbon Dioxide Emissions. 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106:1704-1709.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 2010a. Overview of the 
Republic of Korea's National Strategy for Green Growth. 54pp.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 2010b. Proposed amendment 
to the Montreal Protocol; A joint proposal submitted by Canada, 
Mexico, and the United States of America in respect of the 
hydroflourocarbon phase-down. Twenty-Second Meeting of the Parties 
to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. 
Bangkok, 8-12 November 2010. 9pp.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 2010c. The Emissions Gap 
Report: Are the Copenhagen Accord pledges sufficient to limit global 
warming to 2 [deg]C or 1.5 [deg]C? A preliminary assessment 
(Technical Summary). 16pp.
Williams, D. E., Miller, M. W., and K.L. Krammer. 2008. Recruitment 
failure in Florida Keys Acropora palmata, a threatened Caribbean 
coral. Coral Reefs 27: 697-705.

[[Page 73258]]

The NMFS reports referenced above are available at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html.

Classification

National Environmental Policy Act

    The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the 
information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. 
Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and NOAA 
Administrative Order 216-6 (Environmental Review Procedures for 
Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act), we have concluded 
that ESA listing actions are not subject to requirements of the 
National Environmental Policy Act.

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Paperwork 
Reduction Act

    As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the 
ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of 
a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process. 
In addition, this proposed rule is exempt from review under Executive 
Order 12866. This proposed rule does not contain a collection-of-
information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction 
Act.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    In accordance with E.O. 13132, we have made a preliminary 
determination that this proposed rule does not have significant 
Federalism effects and that a Federalism assessment is not required. In 
keeping with the intent of the Administration and Congress to provide 
continuing and meaningful dialogue on issues of mutual state and 
Federal interest, this proposed rule will be given to the relevant 
state agencies in each state in which the species is believed to occur, 
and those states will be invited to comment on this proposal. As we 
proceed, we intend to continue engaging in informal and formal contacts 
with the state, and other affected local or regional entities, giving 
careful consideration to all written and oral comments received.

Executive Order 12898, Environmental Justice

    Executive Order 12898 requires that Federal actions address 
environmental justice in the decision-making process. In particular, 
the environmental effects of the actions should not have a 
disproportionate effect on minority and low-income communities. This 
proposed rule is not expected to have a disproportionately high effect 
on minority populations or low-income populations.

Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.

    Section 307(c)(1) of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) 
of 1972 requires that all Federal activities that affect any land or 
water use or natural resource of the coastal zone be consistent with 
approved state coastal zone management programs to the maximum extent 
practicable. We have preliminarily determined that this action is 
consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable 
policies of approved CZMA programs of each of the states within the 
range of the 49 proposed coral species. Letters documenting NMFS' 
proposed determination, along with the proposed rule, will be sent to 
the coastal zone management program offices in each affected state. A 
list of the specific state contacts and a copy of the letters are 
available upon request.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 223

    Endangered and threatened species; Exports; Imports; 
Transportation.

50 CFR Part 224

    Administrative practice and procedure; Endangered and threatened 
species; Exports; Imports; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements; 
Transportation.

    Dated: November 29, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 223 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 223--THREATENED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

    1. The authority citation for part 223 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; subpart B, Sec.  223.201-202 
also issued under 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5503(d) for 
Sec.  223.206(d)(9).

    2. In Sec.  223.102, in the table, amend paragraph (d) by removing 
existing paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) and adding paragraphs (d)(1) 
through (d)(54) to read as follows:


Sec.  223.102  Enumeration of threatened marine and anadromous species.

* * * * *

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Species \1\                                            Citation(s) for     Citation(s) for
-----------------------------------------------------    Where listed           listing         critical habitat
           Common name              Scientific name                         determination(s)     designation(s)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
(d) * * *.......................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1).............................  Acropora aculeus..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(2).............................  Acropora acuminata  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(3).............................  Acropora aspera...  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(4).............................  Acropora dendrum..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(5).............................  Acropora donei....  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].

[[Page 73259]]

 
(6).............................  Acropora globiceps  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(7).............................  Acropora horrida..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(8).............................  Acropora listeri..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(9).............................  Acropora            Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   microclados.        Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(10)............................  Acropora palmerae.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(11)............................  Acropora            Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   paniculata.         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(12)............................  Acropora pharaonis  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(13)............................  Acropora polystoma  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(14)............................  Acropora retusa...  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(15)............................  Acropora speciosa.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(16)............................  Acropora striata..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(17)............................  Acropora tenella..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(18)............................  Acropora vaughani.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(19)............................  Acropora verweyi..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(20)............................  Acanthastrea        Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   brevis.             Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(21)............................  Acanthastrea        Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   hemprichii.         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(22)............................  Acanthastrea        Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   ishigakiensis.      Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(23)............................  Acanthastrea        Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   regularis.          Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(24) Lamarck's sheet coral......  Agaricia lamarcki.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Caribbean,          WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                       Western Atlantic,   A FINAL RULE].
                                                       Gulf of Mexico.
(25)............................  Alveopora allingi.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(26)............................  Alveopora           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   fenestrata.         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(27)............................  Alveopora           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   verrilliana.        Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(28)............................  Anacropora          Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   puertogalerae.      Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(29)............................  Astreopora          Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   cucullata.          Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].

[[Page 73260]]

 
(30)............................  Barabattoia laddi.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(31)............................  Caulastrea          Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   echinulata.         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(32) Elliptical Star Coral......  Dichocoenia         Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   stokesii.           Caribbean,          WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                       Western Atlantic,   A FINAL RULE].
                                                       Gulf of Mexico.
(33)............................  Euphyllia cristata  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(34)............................  Euphyllia           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   paraancora.         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(35)............................  Isopora             Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   crateriformis.      Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(36)............................  Isopora cuneata...  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(37)............................  Millepora tuberosa  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(38)............................  Montipora angulata  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(39)............................  Montipora           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   australiensis.      Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(40)............................  Montipora calcarea  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(41)............................  Montipora           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   caliculata.         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(42)............................  Montipora dilatata/ Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   flabellata/         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                   turgescens.                             A FINAL RULE].
(43)............................  Montipora lobulata  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(44)............................  Montipora patula(/  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   verrilli).          Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(45)............................  Pachyseris rugosa.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(46)............................  Pavona diffluens..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(47)............................  Pectinia            Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   alcicornis.         Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(48)............................  Physogyra           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   lichtensteini.      Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(49)............................  Pocillopora danae.  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(50)............................  Pocillopora         Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   elegans (Indo-      Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                   Pacific).                               A FINAL RULE].
(51)............................  Porites             Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   horizontalata.      Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(52)............................  Porites napopora..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
(53)............................  Porites nigrescens  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].

[[Page 73261]]

 
(54)............................  Seriatopora         Wherever found.     [FR CITATION & DATE                 NA
                                   aculeata.           Indo-Pacific.       WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                                           A FINAL RULE].
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments of vertebrates (DPSs) (for a
  policy statement; see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy
  statement; see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991).

* * * * *
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 224 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 224--ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

    1. The authority citation of part 224 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.

    2. In Sec.  224.101, paragraph (d) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  224.101  Enumeration of endangered marine and anadromous species.

* * * * *
    (d) Marine invertebrates. The following table lists the common and 
scientific names of endangered species, the locations where they are 
listed, and the citations for the listings and critical habitat 
designations.
* * * * *

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Species \1\                                            Citation(s) for     Citation(s) for
-----------------------------------------------------    Where listed           listing        critical  habitat
           Common name              Scientific name                         determinations       designations
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Black abalone...............  Haliotis            USA, CA. From       NOAA 2009; 74 FR    NOAA 2011; 76 FR
                                   cracherodii.        Crescent City,      1937, January 14,   66806, October
                                                       California, USA     2009.               27, 2011.
                                                       to Cape San
                                                       Lucas, Baja
                                                       California,
                                                       Mexico, including
                                                       all offshore
                                                       islands.
(2) White abalone...............  Haliotis sorenseni  USA, CA. From       NOAA 2001; 66 FR    Deemed not prudent
                                                       Point Conception,   29054, May, 29,     NOAA 2001; 66 FR
                                                       California to       2001.               29054, May, 29,
                                                       Punta Abreojos,                         2001.
                                                       Baja California,
                                                       Mexico including
                                                       all offshore
                                                       islands and banks.
(3) Staghorn coral..............  Acropora            Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   cervicornis.        Caribbean,          DATE WHEN
                                                       Western Atlantic.   PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(4).............................  Acropora            Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   jacquelineae.       Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                                                           PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(5).............................  Acropora lokani...  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                                                           PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(6) Elkhorn coral...............  Acropora palmata..  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                                       Caribbean,          DATE WHEN
                                                       Western Atlantic.   PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(7).............................  Acropora rudis....  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                                                           PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(8).............................  Anacropora spinosa  Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                                       Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                                                           PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(9) Pillar coral................  Dendrogyra          Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   cylindrus.          Caribbean,          DATE WHEN
                                                       Western Atlantic.   PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(10)............................  Euphyllia           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   paradivisa.         Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                                                           PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(11)............................  Millepora           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   foveolata.          Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                                                           PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(12) Boulder star coral.........  Montastraea         Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   annularis.          Caribbean,          DATE WHEN
                                                       Western Atlantic,   PUBLISHED AS A
                                                       Gulf of Mexico.     FINAL RULE].
(13) Boulder star coral.........  Montastraea         Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   faveolata.          Caribbean,          DATE WHEN
                                                       Western Atlantic,   PUBLISHED AS A
                                                       Gulf of Mexico.     FINAL RULE].

[[Page 73262]]

 
(14) Mountainous star coral.....  Montastraea         Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   franksi.            Caribbean,          DATE WHEN
                                                       Western Atlantic,   PUBLISHED AS A
                                                       Gulf of Mexico.     FINAL RULE].
(15) Rough cactus coral.........  Mycetophyllia       Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   ferox.              Caribbean,          DATE WHEN
                                                       Western Atlantic,   PUBLISHED AS A
                                                       Gulf of Mexico.     FINAL RULE].
(16)............................  Millepora           Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   foveolata.          Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                                                           PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
(17)............................  Pocillopora         Wherever found.     [FR CITATION &      NA
                                   elegans (East       Indo-Pacific.       DATE WHEN
                                   Pacific).                               PUBLISHED AS A
                                                                           FINAL RULE].
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments of vertebrates (DPSs) (for a
  policy statement; see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy
  statement; see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991).

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-29350 Filed 12-6-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P