Coral species in Thailand.

Scientifically, a hard coral,which is a true coral, is classified in Phylum Coelenterata, Class Anthozoa, Subclass Zoantharia, Order Scleractinia. Phuket Marine Biological Center has collected 280 samples of corals from Andaman Sea and the coral Acropora kosurini was firstly discovered at Mu Ko Surin (Wallace and Wolstenholme, 1998) as shown in Figure. All coral specimens were carefully kept and systemically registered for further taxonomic reference. Meanwhile, the coral specimens collected from the Gulf of Thailand were kept at the museums of several organizations such as Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center, the Central Gulf of Thailand (Chumporn Province), Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center, the Eastern Gulf of Thailand (Rayong Province), Burapha University, Prince of Songkla University, Chulalongkorn University and Kasetsart University. However, the collection of coral specimens from the Gulf of Thailand has not completed yet. At present, scientists are still conducting research and collecting more coral specimens. It is expected that the species diversity of Gulf of Thailand might be higher than which of the Andaman Sea because of the Gulf of Thailand is connected to Pacific Ocean where the abundance and diversity of corals are highest.

Figure The first discover of Acropora kosurini

The list of coral species found in Thailand consists of 18 families, 71 genera and 389 species. The 273 specimens were collected in the museums, and other 116 species are expected to be found in Thai Waters . The list and quantitative numbers were analyzed from the survey reports and the distribution of corals in the book entitled “Coral of the World” (Veron, 2000).

Table  Summary of the number of hard corals species in Thailand

Area

Reported Number of species

Number of species have not reported yet but

expected to be found in Thai Waters

Gulf of Thailand

240

102

Andaman Sea

269

26

Total

273

116

Source: Department of Marine and Coastal Resources database. Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Available on http://www.dmcr.go.th/marinecenter/, http://www.dmcr.go.th/marinecenter/, 5 December 2012