Although less susceptible to bleaching than many coral genera, the Porites genus is much more prone to disease than many other corals. An emerging threat to coral reefs worldwide, coral disease is a major cause of reef deterioration (1).
The major threat to all corals is global climate change, which is expected to cause rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification, and more frequent, severe storms, which can damage reefs. Climate change will also increase the risk, frequency and duration of coral bleaching, and corals will be more susceptible to disease, parasites and predators, such as the crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) (1) (6) (7) (8).
Worldwide there is increasing pressure on coastal resources resulting from human population growth and development. There has been a significant increase in domestic and agricultural waste in the oceans, pollution, poor land-use practices that result in an increase in sediment running on to the reefs, and over-fishing, which can all have knock-on effects on the reef (6). Porites species are also heavily collected for the aquarium trade (1).