Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Name of species: Lobophyllia serratus

Nominated by: Reef World Foundation

Conservation status: Lobophyllia serratus’s population has decreased by 66% over 30 years, which meets the threshold for “Endangered” under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Why the Reef-World Foundation love Lobophyllia serratus: Coral reefs are known as the building blocks of marine life; everything from the orang-utan crabs to the great white shark and everything in between depends on them. They are formed by thousands of individual corals of varying shapes and sizes, each one playing a very important role within the ecosystem. ‘Lobo coral’ is the lobed brain of the reef. It is restricted to the South-East Asian region, where The Reef-World Foundation’s efforts are concentrated; and it is an extremely rare find.

Coral reefs are living animals; they eat, sleep and reproduce, albeit slightly differently to you and me! They can be resilient to isolated stress events (like warming oceans!) but become extremely vulnerable when multiple threats and human activities add further pressure. In order to increase coral resilience we aim to build a closer relationship between humans and corals through education and empowerment.

Threats to the Lobophyllia serratus’s survival: ‘Lobo coral’ is usually found on reef slopes, between 4 and 15 metres, making it highly vulnerable to all human influences.

It faces a wide variety of threats, from those at the local scale such as tourism, diving and snorkelling and destructive fishing practices, to those at the global scale such as climate change, ocean acidification and marine pollution. A combination of any of these threats may lead to decreased resilience and an increased susceptibility to disease. Just like with any animal, diseases are considered one of the major threats to coral reefs worldwide; as the frequency and distribution of diseases grow, the bigger the threat becomes.

Information on the Reef-World Foundation’s work with Lobophyllia serratus: The Reef-World Foundation is a UK charity that has been working to inspire and empower people to conserve and sustainably develop coastal resources, specifically coral reefs, in South-East Asia and the Indian Ocean for over ten years. As the principle technical partner for the UNEP initiative, Green Fins, Reef-World has worked with national governments, the private sector and local communities to expand the initiative to protect coral reefs across six countries, driving marine conservation efforts through education and consultation.

Find out more about the Reef-World Foundation

Discover more marine invertebrate species on Arkive