Around one third of the world’s reef building corals are threatened with extinction (6). The principal threat to corals is the rise in sea temperature associated with global climate change. This leads to coral bleaching, where the symbiotic algae are expelled, leaving the corals weak and vulnerable to an increasing variety of harmful diseases. Climate change is also expected to increase ocean acidification and result in a greater frequency of extreme weather events, such as destructive storms. The global impact of climate change on coral reefs is also compounded by localised threats to coral reefs from pollution, destructive fishing practices, invasive species, human development, and other activities (1) (6).
Anomastraea irregularis is also thought to be highly susceptible to the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), a voracious predator of reef-building corals. Since the 1970s, outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish have become more and more frequent, and have resulted in the loss of large areas of coral habitat (1).
Although Anomastraea irregularis is still relatively widespread and common in parts of its range, evidence of an overall global decline in coral habitat is an indication that this species is almost certainly declining (1).