For additional guidance on determining what percentage of each habitat to protect, see Green et al. 2014, page 145.
The terms acclimatization and adaptation are often used synonymously but are not the same thing. Acclimatization refers to physiological changes whereas adaptation refers to genetic changes.
Changes occurring within the lifetime of an individual organism
Changes that result from chronic exposure to an environmental change and help an individual survive in a given environment. Such changes cannot be transmitted to offspring.
Changes occurring over generations within a species
Changes that provide an enhanced ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment
Acclimatization refers to phenotypic changes by an organism to stresses in the natural environment that result in the readjustment of the organism’s tolerance.
Adaptive Capacity Example
For example, people with low adaptive capacity may have a harder time adapting to climate change.
The term disease causative agent usually refers to a living, biological organism that causes a disease.
Aragonite is a mineral form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) that is often used by marine species to form skeletons and shells.
Examples of areas more resistant or resilient to climate change include:
ecosystems that have resisted or recovered from damage (e.g. coral bleaching) in the past
reefs where thermal history and projections indicate lack of exceedence of coral bleaching thresholds
mangroves that have space to move inland with rising sea levels
ecosystems that have characteristics that indicate they are more likely to survive impacts in the future (e.g. heat-tolerant corals or reefs where thermal variability is high because they may be more resistant to bleaching)
Reference: McLeod, E., A. Green, E. Game, K. Anthony, J. Cinner, S. F. Heron, J. Kleypas, C.E. Lovelock, J.M. Pandolfi, R.L. Pressey, R. Salm, S. Schill, and C. Woodroffe. 2012. Integrating Climate and Ocean Change Vulnerability into Conservation Planning, Coastal Management 40(6): 651-672.
Autotrophic organisms are organisms (e.g., plants, algae) that make their own food from their surroundings, such as through photosynthesis.
Batis is a genus of flowering, salt-tolerant plants.
In a coral reef context, bioerosion refers to the breakdown of calcareous material from the reef by biological processes.
Biofouling is the the accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae, or animals on submerged surfaces. Biofouling communities commonly include barnacles, mussels, encrusting mollusks, bryozoans, tube worms.
Biogeographic refers to the distribution of biodiversity over space. A biogeographic region is a geographic area with similar dominant plants, organisms and prevailing climate conditions.
Relating to, produced by, or caused by living organisms
BOFFF is the abbreviation for Big Old Fat Fertile Female. Bofffs are more biologically valuable due to their age and reproductive abilities, and removing them from the system is more detrimental than removing younger, non-reproductive fish.
A tool often employed by managers of large commercial fisheries, intended to conserve the resource. A total allowable catch limit is set for a fishing season, and when fishers reach this quota, the fishery is closed. This method can produce a negative effect on the resource as fishers “race” to meet the quota, often using wasteful or destructive methods to extract as many fish as quickly as possible. Intensive monitoring and enforcement is required.
Definition: The quantity of fish caught (in number or in weight) with a specific unit of fishing effort. Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Co-management is a process by which institutional arrangements and ecological knowledge are tested and revised in a dynamic, ongoing self-organized process of learning-by-doing (Folke et al. 2002). Through this process, different resource management bodies collaborate in order to reach a shared goal of managing resources.
The degree of colony unity with respect to behavior, physiology, and development of individual organs or organ complexes within colonies. Characteristics of colony integration include polyp dimorphism, intra-tentacular budding and complex colony morphology. Species with high colony integration are predicted to result in a greater whole-colony response to increased temperatures than species with low colony integration.
In the U.S., mitigation is essentially a three-part process. If a proposed project will impact marine resources, federal agencies first attempt to modify the proposed project to avoid impacts. If after all avoidance measures have been implemented and project-related impacts still exist, federal agencies then attempt to minimize impacts. Finally, if unavoidable impacts still exist after all attempts at avoidance and minimization, the federal agencies must replace the resource’s lost functions through compensatory mitigation (see pdf, 1.2M).
Hidden or difficult to see
Degree Heating Weeks
Degree Heating Weeks is a combination of temperature anomalies and duration of exposure to quantify the accumulated thermal stress in a particular region. One DHW is equivalent to one week of sea surface temperature one degree Celsius warmer than the expected summer-time maximum.
Connectivity is much more than the biophysical coupling of larvae from reproductive populations to recruitment sites. To sustain and grow, populations require an unbroken nexus among reproductive populations called demographic connectivity (Steneck et al. 2009).
Diver Carrying Capacity
This concept is based on a study in Bonaire that found that sites with high dive use had lower coral percent cover, whereas sites with low dive use had higher species diversity. Based on these findings, the authors developed a threshold for dive use per year.
A phylum of marine animals usually recognized by radial symmetry; includes sea stars and sea urchins
Ecological targets include natural resources and ecological services.
Economic assets include property, infrastructure, and income.
An ecoregion is an area that contains a distinct assemblage of communities and species. The composition of an ecoregion is influenced by several small ecosystems and/or distinct oceanographic or topographic features including isolation, upwelling, nutrient inputs, freshwater, temperature regimes, ice regimes, sediments, currents, bathymetric or coastal complexity. (For example, within Central Polynesia, there are 3 ecoregions: Line Islands, Phoenix/Tokelau/Northern Cook Islands and Samoa Islands). Ecoregions can be used as planning units for marine conservation.
Ecosystem resilience refers to the ability of an ecosystem to maintain key functions and processes in the face of stresses or pressures by either resisting or adapting to change.
Definition: The benefits people obtain from ecosystems. These include provisioning services, such as food and water; regulating services, such as flood and disease control; cultural services, such as spiritual and cultural benefits; and supporting services, such as nutrient cycling, that maintain the conditions for life on Earth. Explanation: All the tangible and intangible benefits provided to people by ecosystems. There are four big groups of ecosystem services: (1) provisioning services, which refer to the products offered by an ecosystem, such as food, raw materials, water, minerals, medicinal resources, energy; (2) supporting services, since ecosystems provide all that is necessary for individual plants and animals to survive; (3) regulating service, such as decomposition, climate regulation, water and air purification, erosion control; and (4) cultural services, as ecosystems or parts of ecosystems can have spiritual or religious meaning for a given community, or they can have a positive impact on health, or function as inspiration for art and contemplation. Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change
Definition: A slow increase in fishing effort and capacity as fishers substitute from regulated to unregulated inputs. An example of effort creep could be described by attempting to limit effort through vessel licenses, only to have the licensed vessels increase fishing effort by switching to larger boats, adding extra or more efficient gear, etc. Explanation: Effort creep refers to situations where fishing inputs, or the various components of fishing effort such as use of gear, vessel use, and fishing time, gradually increase, thereby also increasing fish exploitation. Source: Fisherman Behaviour and the Design of Efficient Fisheries Regulation Programmes. Wilen J. 1979. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 36: 855–8.
Definition: Empirical data (also empirical evidence, sense experience, empirical knowledge, or the a posteriori) is a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation. Source: Empirical Data in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition. Pickett JP (ed). 2011.
Energy regime refers to the level of energy that characterizes a location. For example, a site on the leeward side of an island would have a lower energy regime because the influence of the wind on a daily basis is minimal.
Epilithic algal turf refers to a diverse assemblage of crustose coralline algae and turf algae growing upon limestone. Turf algae refers to the multispecific and inconspicuous association of unicellular, and short (usually < 1 cm high), simple filamentous algae.
Eutrophication is the natural or artificial (e.g., from fertilizer runoff or sewage discharge) addition of nutrients into bodies of water that often encourages excessive algal growth.
Exposure describes the level of being exposed to physical forces such as high wave energy, wind, and strong currents. If an area is surrounded by islands with limited influence from waves, wind, and currents, its level of exposure is minimal.
For example, coastal habitats and social systems in low-lying coastal areas are likely to have increased exposure to greater ocean temperature warming and associated sea-level rises or storm surges.
Fecundity refers to the capacity of an individual or population to reproduce.
Definition: A biological fish stock is a group of fish of the same species that live in the same geographic area and mix enough to breed with each other when mature. A management stock may refer to a biological stock or a multispecies complex that is managed as a single unit. Source:NOAA Fisheries Website
Definition: The amount of time and fishing power used to harvest fish; effort units include gear size, boat size, and engine power or horsepower.Explanation: All the effort that goes into a fishing activity, such as the time spent fishing (hours, days), the number or quantity of fishing implements (hooks, nets, lines, etc.), the size and horsepower of the vessels used. Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Definition: A measurement of the rate of removal from a population by fishing. Fishing mortality can be reported as either annual or instantaneous. Annual mortality is the percentage of fish dying in one year. Instantaneous mortality is the percentage of fish dying at any one time.
Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Fish stocks produce catches close to their maximum sustainable production, thus have no room for expansion and require management to avoid decline.
Functional redundancy refers to species that can assume the role of others so the loss of one species is potentially compensated for by the actions of another.
A collection of species that perform a similar function, regardless of their taxonomic group (Steneck and Dethier 1994). For example, corals form an important functional group that provides three-dimensional habitats for fishes and other organisms and contributes to reef growth. Herbivores constitute another functional group that plays a key role in controlling algal growth, thereby helping to enhance coral recruitment, recovery, and therefore resilience.
Definition: Walking along the intertidal zone at low tide and collecting resources, usually edible invertebrates and fish. Source:The Importance of Non-Commercial Fish in The UNESCO Encyclopedia Of Life Support Systems (ch 22.214.171.124). Baran E. 2002.
A gonochore is a species in which two distinct sexes occur.
GPS stands for global positioning system. It typically consists of a handheld or mounted electronic unit that receives signals from GPS satellites to determine its exact position on the earth in terms of latitude and longitude. The unit can also record and store your position, which is called a waypoint. This allows you to return to exactly the same location later or create a route map of where you have been when multiple waypoints are entered. Used in conjunction with a depth sounder, a GPS can help you map the bathymetry of the seafloor.
Wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled for other uses (e.g., landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands). It does not include water which contains human waste, such as from toilets.
Ground truth survey refers to information that is collected “on location.”
Harvest Control Rules
Definition: Harvest control rules are well-defined rules that help determine annual fish catch quotas and/ or effort. They describe how harvest is intended to be controlled by management in relation to the state of some indicator of stock status. For example, a harvest control rule can describe the various values of fishing mortality that will be aimed at for various values of the stock abundance.Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Herbivores are animals that only eat plants.
Heterotrophs rely on consuming organic material for nutrition, as opposed to autotrophs which can manufacture their own food.
The holobiont is the collective community of coral host and its microbial symbionts.
Specifically, the bandwidths important for photosynthesis, known as photosynthetically active radiation, or PAR
An indicator (in general) is a measured quantity that can describe a certain aspect of a system. Changes in an indicator over time may be a sign of changes in an ecosystem. An indicator (in the context of MPA management) is a unit of information, measured over time, which enables managers to gauge changes in specific characteristics of the MPA.
Definition: The ability, will, and skills of an institution to initiate, plan, manage, undertake, organize, budget, monitor/supervise, and evaluate project activities.Explanation: Institutional capacity refers to the ability of an organization or institution to perform certain functions, solve problems and set and achieve objectives. The capacity of an institution or organization is dependent on a clear mission and on its ability to employ appropriate resources and management practices for achieving its mission.
For actions carried out at a regional or national level, institutional capacity also involves the cooperation of many different institutions and organizations, for example ministries, agencies, central and regional or local governments, private organizations, businesses or other non-governmental organizations. Such networking capacity relies on communication and coordination with key actors, on the establishment and implementation of procedures and financial provisions for the network, on allocation of responsibilities, and on ensuring the stability of the network.
Source: Capacity Building, Skills Training, and Institution Building. African Development Foundation.
An intervention is any action or set of actions deliberately taken to improve the functioning of the group.
Intra-tentacular budding is a method of growth for corals. In this form, coral polyps divide by simple fission and each bud retains part of the original polyp.
Pelagic larval duration refers to the amount of time the larvae spend in the open ocean before settlement on the reef.
Definition: The available but unused opportunity for fishing vessels to participate in a fishery. An example of latent effort would be allocated fishing permits for a vessel for a specific number of fishing days that go unused. Explanation: Latent effort refers to the available, but unused option for vessels to participate in fishery activities. If latent effort is included in calculating fishing effort, but subsequently not used, the fishery may underperform. Source:Latent Effort. New England Fishery Management Council.
A lesion is an area of partial mortality of a coral where exposed coral skeleton becomes vulnerable to invasion, e.g., by algae.
Life History Information
Definition:Basic biological information such as size and age at maturity, natural mortality, and fecundity for a specific species. Other parameters that can be included are: primary depth range, geographic range, habitat preferences, information on life cycle and development, fecundity and spawning season, ecological requirements and limitations.
Source:Fishery Solutions Center Glossary. Environmental Defense Fund.
A logarithmic scale is a scale of measurement that displays the value of a quantity using intervals corresponding to orders of magnitude, rather than a standard linear scale. For example, a chart with a vertical axis with equally spaced increments labeled 1, 10, 100, 1000, instead of 1, 2, 3, 4. Each unit increase on the logarithmic scale represents an exponential increase in the underlying quantity for the given base (10, in this example).
Definition: The tools adopted by the management authority to reach established management goals. In addition to the objectives, it includes choices regarding all or some of the following: access rights and allocation of resources to stakeholders, controls on inputs (e.g., fishing capacity, gear regulations), outputs (e.g., quotas, minimum size at landing), and fishing operations (e.g., calendar, closed areas, and seasons). Also known as management measures.Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A specialized branch of aquaculture involving the cultivation of marine organisms for products in the open ocean, an enclosed section of the ocean, or in tanks, ponds or filled with seawater
Marine Protected Area (MPA)
A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.1
Locally specified entitlements to marine territories and resources claimed and exercised by the “guardians” of those territories and resources (Hviding 1998).
Maritime Control and Interdiction Procedures
Definition: Interdiction operations are actions to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy an enemy’s surface capabilities before they can be used effectively against friendly forces, or to otherwise achieve objectives. In support of law enforcement, interdiction includes activities conducted to divert, disrupt, delay, intercept, board, detain, or destroy, under lawful authority, vessels, vehicles, aircraft, people, cargo, and money. Explanation: Procedures for operations conducted by lawful authorities to prevent illegal activity involving vessels, vehicles, aircraft, people, cargo, and money. Source:US Dept. of Defense.
Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY)
Definition:The largest average catch or yield that can continuously be taken from a stock under existing environmental conditions. Also called: maximum equilibrium catch, maximum sustainable yield, sustainable catch. Source: NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Many large marine animals (i.e., whales, predatory fish, turtles, etc.) Follow set routes when they migrate (for feeding, nesting, birthing, or breeding purposes) from one area to another. These routes are referred to as migration corridors.
The reduction or control of adverse environmental effects of a project, including restitution for any damage to the environment through replacement, restoration, or creation of habitat in one area to compensate for loss in another.
A phylum of invertebrate marine animals including gastropods (snails and slugs) along with other species such as squid, octopus, and cuttlefish.
A collection of individual MPAs operating cooperatively and synergistically, at various spatial scales, and with a range of protection levels, in order to fulfill ecological aims more effectively and comprehensively than individual sites could alone.2
Areas that are naturally more resilient to stressors, such as climate change impacts or changes in ocean chemistry
Definition: Species not specifically targeted as a component of the catch; may be incidentally captured as part of the targeted catch. Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary.Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Ocean neighborhood is the area centered on a set of parents that is large enough to retain most of the offspring of those parents.
Ontogeny describes the origin and development of an organism from the fertilized egg to the mature form.
Standards developed by a partnership of conservation organizations that provide the steps and general guidance necessary for successful implementation of conservation projects based on common concepts, approaches, and terminology in conservation project design, management, and monitoring.
Fish stocks produce lower yields than their biological/ecological potential and require management to restore their productivity.
Definition: The fishery is being exploited, or harvested, above a level that is believed to be sustainable in the long term, with no potential room for further expansion and a higher risk of stock depletion and/or collapse. Explanation: A species or a fishery is overexploited when it is harvested faster than it can recover, for example through overfishing. If the situation continues beyond a critical point, it can lead to the destruction of the affected species.
Source: Ocean Health Index: Stock Exploitation Status.
Photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) refers to the spectral range (wave band) of solar radiation from 400-700 nanometers (the visible wavelengths and the spectrum used by plants for photosynthesis) that is absorbed by the chlorophyll molecule.
Pelagic means of or relating to open ocean.
A measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Ph provides an approximation of the concentration of dissolved hydrogen ions (H+).
A significant change in community structure and composition (shift to an alternative state) — for example, from a coral-dominated to an algal-dominated system (Green and Bellwood 2009).
Phenotypic plasticity refers to non-genetic variation in organisms in response to environmental factors.
Phylogenetic pertains to the evolutionary development of an organism.
A planula is the free-swimming larval form of coral.
Polyp dimorphism refers to a coral colony which displays polyps of two different forms (i.e., color, size, number of tentacles, etc.).
Precipitation refers to rainfall, snowfall and other forms of frozen or liquid water falling from clouds.
Protogynous hermaphrodites are species that initially mature and reproduce as females and subsequently alter their sex to reproduce as males. Groupers and wrasses, among other families, share this characteristic.
Definition: A variable used to stand in for one that is difficult to measure directly.Explanation: A proxy indicator is an indirect measure for a phenomenon which cannot be measured by direct means. For example, the economic performance of a fishery can be measured by proxy indicators such as whether income is high enough to allow for gear upkeep, whilst data on Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) can be used as indirect information on resource abundance.
Source:Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results. UNDP Evaluation Office. 2002.
Recruitment success refers to the number of fish larvae per amount of spawning fish biomass that successfully establish themselves on a reef and contribute as individuals to the fish population. Because most reef fishes release their eggs into the pelagic environment, the larvae are subjected to a number of factors such as: oceanographic currents, tides, food availability, and predation. These factors are wide-ranging and variable, and therefore the number of larvae that can successfully recruit back to a reef may differ significantly from year to year and even longer time frames.
Refugia are secure areas that are protected by natural factors and/or human intervention from a variety of stresses. They are meant to function as reliable sources of seed over time.
The act of partially or fully replacing structural or functional characteristics of an ecosystem that have been diminished or lost, or the substitution of alternative qualities or characteristics than those originally present, with the provision that they have more social, economic or ecological value than existed in the disturbed or degraded state.
An organism that at an earlier time was abundant in a large area but now occurs at only one or a few small areas.
The act or process of remedying or repairing damage to an ecosystem.
Definition: Resilience is the capacity of a system to respond to and absorb disturbance while retaining essentially the same function, structure, and feedbacks; it has been defined for both ecosystems and social systems. Explanation: Resilience is the ability to adapt to or recover from the impact of external factors such as stress, difficulties, shocks, or disasters. A resilient ecosystem can tolerate disturbances without fundamentally changing its structure and processes. In the case of fisheries, resilience can be affected by weather events such as hurricanes, by pathogens or other biological factors, by human activity such as over-fishing and pollution. Source: Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. Holling CS. 1973. Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability in Social–Ecological Systems. Walker B, Holling CS, Carpenter SR, and Kinzig A. 2004.
Resilience to Bleaching
Resilience to bleaching is exhibited when coral colonies bleach and partially or entirely die, but the coral community recovers rapidly to its former state. This varies among different parts of a reef and among different reefs in the same complex.
Resistance to bleaching is exhibited when coral colonies do not bleach, or bleach but don’t die. Resistance may vary among different parts of a reef and between different reef communities.
The process of re-establishing, following degradation by human activities, a sustainable habitat or ecosystem with natural structure and functioning. Restoration can accelerate recovery although this could lead to an alternative state
The degree to which a solution is saturated with a solute. A solution with saturation of 1 Ω is saturated. Solutions with Ω greater than 1 are oversaturated (called supersaturated). Solutions with Ω less than 1 are undersaturated.
Self recruitment level refers to the percent of larvae that return to the reef where they were spawned, or the proportion of young arriving into a local population that are products of local production.
For example, social systems that are highly dependent on climate-vulnerable natural resources have a greater sensitivity to climate change.
Social assets include people, health, education, and social networks.
Social resilience is defined as the ability of a community to cope with and adapt to stresses such as social, political, environmental or economic change.
A source area is a habitat patch capable of supporting stable or growing populations and is a net exporter of individuals (Crowder et al. 2000).
Spillover from an MPA accounts for two types of movements outside the MPA: (1) adults and juvenile animals swim into adjacent areas, and (2) young animals and eggs can drift out from the MPA into the surrounding waters.
Sea surface temperature
Definition: Individuals or groups with an interest in the resource, either because they depend on it for their livelihoods or they are involved in institutions or agencies concerned with managing the resource. These may include fishers, traders, processors, distributors, fishery managers, NGOs, and scientists. Explanation:A person, institution, or organization that is directly or indirectly involved in something, such as a business, a project, or a resource. For example, fishers and other people who depend on a fishery for food or income, such as sellers, distributors, the fishery's managers and employees working there, are all stakeholders of the respective fishery. Other fishery stakeholders can be law makers, governing authorities, NGOs, businesses, scientists, etc. Source: Social Issues in Fisheries. FAO Corporate Document Repository.
A stressor is any input, process or activity that impacts the functioning of an ecosystem over time. Stressors can be naturally occurring events, e.g., hurricanes, El NiÃ±o Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or those related to human activities.
Sustainable Market Transformation
Sustainable market transformation is the strategic process of intervening in a market to create lasting change in market behavior.
A low tract of land, especially one that is moist or marshy
A symbiotic relationship is a close ecological relationship between the individuals of two (or more) different species that may, but does not necessarily, benefit each species.
Definition: Those species primarily sought by the fishermen in a particular fishery, the subject of directed fishing effort in a fishery. There may be primary as well as secondary target species. Source:NOAA Fisheries Glossary. Blackhart K, Stanton DG, and Shimada AM. 2006. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Position of an organism in the food chain
Definition: When referring to a fishery, an underdeveloped or new fishery that is believed to have a significant potential for expansion in total harvest.Explanation: A resource (e.g., a species or even the whole fishery) is underexploited when it is harvested at a slower rate than is necessary for its recovery. An underexploited fishery is a new or underdeveloped fishery, whose production can be expanded. Source:Ocean Health Index: Stock Exploitation Status.
An organism that transmits a pathogen from reservoir to host
Ability to overcome defensive mechanisms; destructiveness
Watercourse refers to any flowing body of water.
An MPA network can include zones that are designed for different levels of use and extraction. For example, within the MPA network, no-take zones can be strategically placed to prohibit harvest. Multiple-use MPA zoning, including no-take areas, provides a way to accommodate multiple uses (recreational fishing, commercial fishing, tourism, etc.) and balances the trade-offs between sustainable use and conservation.
Zooxanthellae are symbiotic algae (in the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium) that live in the tissues of coral polyps and other host animals. The tiny photosynthetic organisms provide both nutrients and oxygen to the corals and other host animals in which they live.