|Biotic Setting||Benthic/Attached Biota
|Biotic Class||Reef Biota
|Biotic Subclass||Shallow/Mesophotic Coral Reef Biota
|Biotic Group||Branching Coral Reef
Columnar Coral Reef
Encrusting Coral Reef
Foliose Coral Reef
Massive Coral Reef
Plate Coral Reef
Table Coral Reef
Turbinate Coral Reef
Mixed Shallow/Mesophotic Coral Reef
Colonized Shallow/Mesophotic Reef
|Definition||Areas with ample light that are dominated by hermatypic (reef-building) hard corals
or non-hermatypic reef colonizers.
The Shallow and Mesophotic Coral Reef Biota are largely based on the growth form of the dominant corals that (a) reflect differences in environmental conditions and (b) provide varied habitat circumstances (such as increased cover) for associated fish and invertebrate species. The same coral species can present different growth forms under different environmental circumstances. For example, Acropora sp. can have both branching and table growth forms, depending on the environment. To reflect the differences in the physical and biological environments, the same species may be used to define communities in more than one coral group.