Abstract

A new species of the Montastraeaannularis” species complex is herein described from Pleistocene coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea. The species, Montastraea nancyi n. sp., had a broad geographic distribution at mainly insular sites 125 Ka. It has a fossil record extending from >600 Ka (thousand years) to 82 Ka, both first and last occurrences exclusively on the island of Barbados. It also had a broad environmental tolerance, occurring in fringing, windward back-reef and reef-crest, leeward reef-crest, and lagoonal patch-reef environments. In every habitat in which it lived, there are examples that it either dominated the coral fauna or shared dominance with Acropora palmata, a dominant shallow water coral in high-energy Pleistocene and modern reefs. The extinction of Montastraea nancyi resulted in evolutionary and ecological change in surviving members of the M. “annularis” species complex.

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