The last thorough qualitative description of the unique Brazilian coral communities was elaborated in the 1960's. This paper reviews the status of knowledge of Brazilian reefs, with emphasis on coral communities. Larger reef coral communities were recorded from near the Equator (00°53′S)
to Cape Frio (23°S), but the southernmost true reefs are in the Abrolhos area (18°S). Fifteen scleractinian species from Brazilian reefs (five endemics) have been described. In Northern Brazil, the scattered information indicates mostly offshore or oceanic communities dominated by
coralline algae, with Siderastrea stellata as the main stony coral. However, 'Parcel do Manuel Luiz' seems to harbor a unique coral community established on a rocky structure. Northeastern reefs have mostly long lines of fringing reefs (many on beach rocks), with submerged parallel
lines offshore. Eastern reefs are uniquely characterized by the major reef builder species Mussismilia braziliensis (endemic in this region) and pinnacles (chapeirões) as an important reef structure (sometimes fused to form bank reefs). Although there is a lack of information
on almost all aspects of reef studies, the current (1990s) surge of papers indicate they are gaining attention from the scientific community. Current researchers also have been collaborating with conservation efforts.
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