Porites is a genus of stony coral; they are SPS (Small Polyp Stony) corals. They are characterised by a finger-like morphology. Members of this genus have widely spaced calices, a well-developed wall reticulum and are bilaterally symmetrical. Porites, particularly Porites lutea, often form microatolls. Corals of the genus Porites also often serve as hosts for Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus).
Specimens of Porites are sometimes available for purchase in the aquarium trade. Most Porites that are collected have Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus) that bore into the coral, serving as additional aesthetic livestock. These particular Porites specimens are called "christmas tree worm rocks" or "christmas tree worm coral". However, due to the strict water quality, lighting and dietary requirements, keeping Porites in captivity is very difficult.
Porites corals have been shown to be accurate and precise recorders of past marine surface conditions. Measurements of the oxygen isotopic composition of the aragonitic skeleton of coral specimens indicate the sea-surface temperature conditions and the oxygen isotopic composition of the seawater at the time of growth. The oxygen isotopic composition of seawater can indicate the precipitation/evaporation balance because oxygen atoms of the more abundant mass 16 will preferentially evaporate before the more rare mass 18 oxygen. The relationship between temperature, precipitation, and the oxygen isotopic composition of Porites corals is important for reconstructing past climates, and associated large-scale patterns such as the El-Nino Southern Oscillation, the Intertropical Convergence Zone, and the mean state of the climate system.
- WoRMS (2010). "Porites Link, 1807". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- "ITIS Standard Report Page: Porites". Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- Flora, C.J.; Ely P.S. (2003). "Surface Growth Rings of Porites lutea Microatolls Accurately Track Their Annual Growth". Northwest Science 77 (3): 237–245. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
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