Ecology and role of the northern star coral

Title: Ecology and role of the northern star coral (Astrangia poculata

Principal Investigator: Jill Ashey (URI CELS), Hollie Putnam (URI CELS)

Collaborators: Conor McManus (RI DEM)

Funding Source: National Science Foundation

This collaboration aims to better udnerstand the spatial and temporal population dynamics of Astrangia poculata, the northern star coral, in Rhode Island waters. Despite its status as the state coral of Rhode Island, little is known about A. poculata, its population dynamics, and its role in coastal ecosystems. To address these questions, ecological, physical, and physiological data will be integrated to assess A. poculata’s relative importance in coastal health and resilience, as well as the maintenance of fishery stocks. The unification of multi-faceted data types will provide an excellent opportunity to better understand A. poculata population structure and dynamics across different habitat types and begin to understand its role in coastal marine ecosystems. This project will summarize current knowledge on the species, where current knowledge gaps exist, and analyze existing data streams in support of determining the role of  A. poculata in supporting fish and invertebrate habitat.