The reticulate coral reef system in Golfo de Guacanayabo, SE Cuba
The Gran Banco de Buena Esperanza (GBBE) coral reef system in Golfo de Guacanayabo in southeastern Cuba consists of a reticular structure comprising a maze of steep to vertical ridges with planar tops rising 20–25 m from the bay floor. The planar tops of the ridges are densely populated by small colonies of sediment-resistant Scleractinia with fragile, branching colony growth forms. The initiation of a reticulate reef system in the absence of karst or other antecedent hard substrates is unprecedented. In this note, we describe the unique geological setting, geomorphology and scleractinian diversity of the GBBE and present an explanation for its development. We suggest that convection-driven self-organization of coral skeletal fragments may be responsible for the reticulate pattern observed as 75 m of reef limestone accreted during Holocene time. Finally, we briefly discuss the evolutionary benefits of coral hybridization and the potential for rapid coral reef growth in turbid, muddy environments.
Zlatarski, V., & Greenstein, B. J. (2020). The reticulate coral reef system in Golfo de Guacanayabo, SE Cuba. Coral Reefs, 39 (3) https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-020-01933-7