Porites is a genus of stony coral; they are small polyp stony (SPS) corals. They are characterised by a finger-like morphology. Members of this genus have widely spaced calices, a well-developed wall reticulum and are bilaterally symmetrical.

Porites are often called massive Porites, as they form large mounding boulder shaped colonies. These corals are among the most environmentally resistant species on the reef.

Porites corals are primarily broadcasting spawners and transmit their symbionts within their eggs. Porites are dominated by a single type of algal symbiont with high fidelity and productivity.

They have been shown to be accurate and precise recorders of past marine surface conditions. Measurements of the oxygen isotopic composition of the aragonitic skeleton of coral specimens indicate the sea-surface temperature conditions and the oxygen isotopic composition of the seawater at the time of growth.

Threats to corals in the genus Porites include predation, climate change, and anthropogenic pollution. Additionally, the symbiotic zooxanthellae reduced their photosynthesis rate when exposed to both stressors.

Done and Potts (1992) observed that when settled, larvae in Porites are vulnerable to competition from other corals and predation from sea urchins. Additionally, mortality likelihood increases following strong storms.

Exploring Porites

Coming Soon

Corals in the genus Porites are found in reefs throughout the world. E5 Coral focuses on Porites native to French Polynesia.

Research Plan

Porites growth rates can be determined by examining annual rings in their skeleton.



Corals cannot escape global change, they have to deal with its effects. To do so, these corals interact with symbionts and other microbes to produce acclimatized phenotypes.


While it is clear that there is a cause-effect link between environmental changes and coral responses, the nature of the mechanisms participating in this process is still unknown.


We hypothesize that environmental changes will shape energetic balances in coral cells, providing cofactors that will participate in the epigenetic regulation of phenotypic responses.


Corals from different groups with diverse ecology and life-history traits will be studied in the field and in the lab, to develop dynamic bioenergetic models for coral-algal symbioses.


This project combines experimental and theoretical expertise, leverages on Mo’orea NSF LTER facilities, and the support of five top public research universities in the U.S.


The E5 Coral Rules of Life project one the most ambitious and comprehensive research efforts in the world addressing the role of epigenetic regulation during environmental responses in marine organisms.