In general, the greatest threat to coral species is believed to be global climate change, which is likely to lead to an increase in severe storms, and to increased ocean acidification, which can reduce the ability of a coral to produce its hard skeleton. Rising sea temperatures can also lead to coral bleaching, in which the coral expels it zooxanthellae, often resulting in death. In addition, coral reefs are under pressure from a range of localised threats including human development, destructive fishing practices, pollution, sedimentation, disease and invasive species (1) (9) (10) (11).
Although still widespread and common throughout its range (1), Turbinaria mesenterina is likely to face similar threats to other reef-building corals, around a third of which are now threatened with extinction (10). In addition, this species is collected for the aquarium trade (1), and has recently been affected by an infectious disease known as Australian subtropical white syndrome in waters around Australia (12). However, it has been shown to be relatively tolerant of sedimentation, suggesting that increased sedimentation, associated with erosion and increased storm activity, is less likely to pose a threat than in many other coral species (13).