Octocorals of St. Eustatius
Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) are a dominant component of Caribbean coral communities. There can be up to 60 octocoral species on a single Caribbean coral reef (Sanchez et al., 1997). Despite the fact that they are dominant macrofauna on many Caribbean reefs, taxonomic questions related to Caribbean octocorals have received relatively little attention (Sánchez et al., 2003).
Hardly any studies have been done concerning the octcoral fauna of St. Eustatius. Previous research here was mainly focussed on shallow water reachable by snorkelling. Therefore a good species list is lacking for octocorals, as their bulk resides at > 5 m depth. Owing to the presence of volcanic underwater landscapes and reefs surrounding the island, many habitats are available to octocorals.
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