June 4, 2012
When we entered the water for our first research dive at Wolf island, the first thing we saw were thousands upon thousands of fish. The fish were so numerous it made seeing the bottom difficult. Underneath the clouds of fish the dominant species of coral was Porites lobata, a lobed pore coral. This species forms massive, helmet-shaped or hemispherical colonies that can exceed 3 m in diameter and 2 m high.
This long-lived coral is slow growing (1-2 cm/year), but is generally more resistant to diseases and bleaching than other corals. It recovered fairly quickly from two severe El Niño events (1982-1983 and 1997-1998) and it is the dominant species around both Wolf and Darwin Islands.