Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Recognizing morphospecies in colonial reef corals: I. Landmark-based methods

  • Ann F. Budd (a1), Kenneth G. Johnson (a2) and Donald C. Potts (a3)
Abstract

Morphologic discrimination of species of scleractinian reef corals has long been plagued by a shortage of independent characters and by high ecophenotypic plasticity. Because of these two factors, many species appear to intergrade morphologically. We outline a newly developed protocol for the morphometric recognition of species, which uses size and shape coordinates derived from landmark data. The landmarks consist of spatially homologous points digitized in three dimensions on upper calical surfaces. The approach is more powerful than linear measurements at detecting subtle distinctions among species; and the distinctions are easy to visualize and interpret biologically, which increases the accuracy and resolution of subsequent phylogenetic and large-scale faunal analyses.

As an example, we distinguish morphospecies in collections of Porites made at three Caribbean locations. Size and shape coordinates are analyzed using principal component analysis, average linkage cluster analysis, and a series of iterative discriminant analyses. Positions of different corallites from the same colonies are examined on cluster dendrograms to determine cutoffs for group recognition, and discriminant classifications for different corallites from the same colonies are compared to maximize group assignments. The results yield seven morphospecies, which are generally in 90% agreement with classification of the same animals using allozyme electrophoresis. Measures of corallite size and the relative heights and locations of the pali and septal denticles all reveal unique patterns of variation among morphospecies.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Abe, K., Reyment, R. A., Bookstein, F. L., Honigstein, A., Almogi-Labin, A., Rosenfeld, A., and Hermelin, O. 1988. Microevolution in two species of ostracods from the Santonian (Cretaceous) of Israel. Historical Biology 1:303323.
Bernard, H. M. 1905. The family Poritidae. II. The genus Porites. Part 1. Catalogue of the Madreporarian Corals of the British Museum (Natural History) 5:1303.
Bookstein, F. L. 1991. Morphometric tools for landmark data: geometry and biology. Cambridge University Press, U.K.
Bookstein, F. L., and Reyment, R. A. 1989. Microevolution in Miocene Brizalina (Foraminifera) studied by canonical variate analysis and analysis of landmarks. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 51:657679.
Brakel, W. H. 1977. Corallite variation in Porites and the species problem in corals. Proceedings of the Third International Coral Reef Symposium 1:457462.
Budd, A. F. 1990. Longterm patterns of morphological variation within and among species of reef-corals and their relationship to sexual reproduction. Systematic Botany 15:150165.
Budd, A. F. 1993. Variation within and among morphospecies of Montastraea. Courier Forschungs-institut Senckenberg 164:241254.
Budd, A. F., and Coates, A. G. 1992. Nonprogressive evolution in a clade of Cretaceous Montastraea-like corals. Paleobiology 18:425446.
Budd, A. F., Johnson, K. G., and Edwards, J. C. 1989. Miocene coral assemblages in Anguilla, BWI, and their implications for the interpretation of vertical succession on fossil reefs. Palaios 4:264275.
Budd, A. F., Stemann, T. A., and Stewart, R. H. 1992. Eocene Caribbean reef corals: a unique fauna from the Gatuncillo Formation of Panama. Journal of Paleontology 66:570594.
Budd, A. F., Johnson, K. G., and Stemann, T. A. 1994. Plio-Pleistocene extinctions and the origin of the modern Caribbean reef coral fauna. Pp. 713in Ginsburg, R. N., Compiler. Proceedings of the Colloquium on Global Aspects of Coral Reefs: Health, Hazards, and History, 1993. Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Fla.
Budd, A. F., Stemann, T. A., and Johnson, K. G. 1994. Stratigraphic distributions of genera and species of Neogene to Recent Caribbean reef corals. Journal of Paleontology 68:951959.
Cheetham, A. H. 1987. Tempo of evolution in a Neogene bryozoan: are trends in single morphologic characters misleading? Paleobiology 13:286296.
Dunteman, G. H. 1989. Principal component analysis. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, Calif.
Foster, A. B. 1979. Phenotypic plasticity in the reef corals Montastraea annularis (Ellis & Solander) and Siderastrea siderea (Ellis & Solander). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 39:2554.
Foster, A. B. 1980. Environmental variation in skeletal morphology within the Caribbean reef corals Montastraea annularis and Siderastrea siderea. Bulletin of Marine Science 30:678709.
Foster, A. B. 1984. The species concept in fossil hermatypic corals: a statistical approach. Palaeontographica Americana 54:5869.
Foster, A. B. 1985. Variation within coral colonies and its importance for interpreting fossil species. Journal of Paleontology 59:13591383.
Foster, A. B. 1986. Neogene Paleontology in the Northern Dominican Republic. 3. The family Poritidae (Anthozoa: Scleractinia). Bulletins of American Paleontology 90:45123.
Frost, S. H. 1977. Miocene to Holocene evolution of Caribbean province reef-building corals. Proceedings of the Third International Coral Reef Symposium 2:353360.
Graus, R. R., and Macintyre, I. G. 1982. Variation in growth forms of the reef coral Montastrea annularis (Ellis and Solander): a quantitative evaluation of growth response to light distribution using computer simulation. Pp. 441464in Ruetzler, K. and Macintyre, I. G., eds. The Atlantic Barrier reef ecosystem at Carrie Bow Cay, Belize, I. Smithsonian Contributions to Marine Science 12, Washington, D.C.
Guzman, H. M., Jackson, J. B. C., and Weil, E. 1991. Short-term ecological consequences of a major oil spill on Panamanian subtidal reef corals. Coral Reefs 10:112.
Jackson, J. B. C., and Cheetham, A. H. 1990. Evolutionary significance of morphospecies: a test with cheilostome Bryozoa. Science 248:579583.
Johnston, M. R., Tabachnick, R. E., and Bookstein, F. L. 1991. Landmark-based morphometrics of spiral accretionary growth. Paleobiology 17:1936.
Klecka, W. R. 1980. Discriminant analysis. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Knowlton, N., Weil, E., Weigt, L. A., and Guzman, H. M. 1992. Sibling species in Montastraea annularis, coral bleaching, and the coral climate record. Science 255:330333.
Potts, D. C., Done, T. J., Isdale, P. J., and Fisk, D. D. 1985. Dominance of a coral community by the genus Porites (Scleractinia). Marine Ecology Progress Series 23:7984.
Potts, D. C., Budd, A. F., and Garthwaite, R. L. 1993. Soft tissue vs. skeletal approaches to species recognition and phylogeny reconstruction in corals. Courier Forschungs-institut Senckenberg 164:221231.
Rohlf, F. J. 1990. Rotational fit methods. Pp. 227236in Rohlf, F. J. and Bookstein, F. L., eds. Proceedings of the Michigan Morphometrics Workshop. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Special Publication 2, Ann Arbor.
Rohlf, F. J., and Marcus, L. F. 1993. A revolution in morphometrics. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 8:129132.
Rohlf, F. J., and Slice, D. 1990. Extensions of the Procrustes method for the optimal superimposition of landmarks. Systematic Zoology 39:4059.
Roos, P. J. 1967. Growth and occurrence of the reef coral Porites astreoides Lamarck in relation to submarine radiance distribution. Academisch proefschrift, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Elinkwijk, Utrecht.
Strauss, R. E., and Bookstein, F. L. 1982. The truss: body form reconstructions in morphometrics. Systematic Zoology 31:113135.
Tabachnick, R. E., and Bookstein, F. L. 1990. The structure of individual variation in Miocene Globorotalia. Evolution 44:416434.
Veron, J. E. N. 1986. Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Angus and Robertson Publishers, North Ryde, Australia.
Veron, J. E. N., and Pichon, M. 1976. Scleractinia of eastern Australia. Part I. Families Thamnasteriidae, Astrocoeniidae, Pocilloporidae. Australian Institute of Marine Science Monograph Series 1:186.
Veron, J. E. N., and Pichon, M. 1982. Scleractinia of eastern Australia. Part IV. Family Poritidae. Australian Institute of Marine Science Monograph Series 5:1159.
Weil, E. 1992. Genetic and morphological variation in Porites (Cnidaria, Anthozoa) across the isthmus of Panama. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.
Weil, E.In press. Genetic and morphological variation in Caribbean and eastern Pacific Porites (Anthozoa, Scleractinia). Preliminary results. Proceedings of the Seventh International Coral Reef Symposium, Guam.
Weil, E., and Knowlton, N.In press. A multi-character analysis of the Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis (Ellis and Solander, 1786) and its two sibling species M. faveolata (Ellis and Solander, 1786) and M. franksi (Gregory, 1895). Bulletin of Marine Science.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Paleobiology
  • ISSN: 0094-8373
  • EISSN: 1938-5331
  • URL: /core/journals/paleobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed