Plasticity in Three-Dimensional Geometry of Branching Corals Along a Cross-Shelf Gradient
AbstractScleractinian corals often exhibit high levels of morphological plasticity, which is potentially important in enabling individual species to occupy benthic spaces across a wide range of environmental gradients. This study tested for differences in the three-dimensional (3D) geometry of three branching corals, Acropora nasuta, Pocillopora spp. and Stylophora pistillata among inner-, mid- and outer-shelf reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Important attributes of coral morphology (e.g., surface area to volume ratio) were expected to vary linearly across the shelf in accordance with marked gradients in environmental conditions, but instead, we detected non-linear trends in the colony structure of A. nasuta and Pocillopora spp. The surface area to volume ratio of both A. nasuta and Pocillopora spp. was highest at mid-shelf locations, (reflecting higher colony complexity) and was significantly lower at both inner-shelf and outer-shelf reefs. The branching structure of these corals was also far more tightly packed at inner-shelf and outer-shelf reefs, compared to mid-shelf reefs. Apparent declines in complexity and inter-branch spacing at inner and outer-shelf reefs (compared to conspecifics from mid-shelf reefs) may reflect changes driven by gradients of sedimentation and hydrodynamics. The generality and explanations of observed patterns warrant further investigation, which is very feasible using the 3D-photogrammetry techniques used in this study. View Full-Text
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Doszpot, N.E.; McWilliam, M.J.; Pratchett, M.S.; Hoey, A.S.; Figueira, W.F. Plasticity in Three-Dimensional Geometry of Branching Corals Along a Cross-Shelf Gradient. Diversity 2019, 11, 44.
Doszpot NE, McWilliam MJ, Pratchett MS, Hoey AS, Figueira WF. Plasticity in Three-Dimensional Geometry of Branching Corals Along a Cross-Shelf Gradient. Diversity. 2019; 11(3):44.Chicago/Turabian Style
Doszpot, Neil E.; McWilliam, Michael J.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Figueira, Will F. 2019. "Plasticity in Three-Dimensional Geometry of Branching Corals Along a Cross-Shelf Gradient." Diversity 11, no. 3: 44.
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