Special Issue "Diversity of Coral-Associated Fauna"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Simone Montano
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DISAT), University of Milano, Bicocca, Italy
MaRHE (Marine Research and High Education Center),Magoodhoo, Maldives
Interests: coral diseases; coral reef ecology; coral restoration; biodiversity; symbiosis; hydrozoans taxonomy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse types of ecosystems on Earth and one of the richest in terms of species interactions. Mutualistic, commensalistic, and parasitic associations are extremely abundant in such ecosystems, and this is primarily due to the topographic complexity created by many benthic organisms, such as reef building corals, that provide a plethora of habitats to support an extraordinary diversity of organisms from all kingdoms of life. Scleractinian corals are usually the most likely to provide numerous different habitats and to support many symbiotic relationships. However, many other invertebrate groups, such as sponges, bryozoans, and other cnidarians, establish strict symbiotic relationships with other marine organisms. Despite a few studies that have shown that some associations may increase coral resistance to external disturbances, the nature of these relationships, as well as the factors that drive their establishment, are poorly investigated. Considering that the widespread degradation of coral reef ecosystems endangers the existence of intimate relationships that often go unrecognized, to improve our knowledge on the complex networks connecting the fates of reef species is of paramount importance to identify key vulnerabilities, to predict possible responses to species loss, and hence to address effective conservation actions.

This Special Issue aims to elucidate the hidden diversity of coral reefs, stimulating the description of new associations involving soft and hard corals, without excluding other benthic organisms, such as sponges, bryozoans, tunicates, and other cnidarians. For this reason, we welcome research on the diversity and ecology of coral-associated fauna, as well as studies documenting and evaluating practical monitoring techniques and conservation measures. Particular attention will be given to papers that use multidisciplinary approaches to study several aspects of coral-associated fauna.

Dr. Simone Montano
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biodiversity;
  • Climate change;
  • Threats and impacts;
  • Conservation;
  • Monitoring techniques;
  • Morpho-Molecular approach;
  • Cryptofauna;
  • Symbioses;
  • Ecological role.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Differential Occupation of Available Coral Hosts by Coral-Dwelling Damselfish (Pomacentridae) on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
Diversity 2019, 11(11), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11110219 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Associations between habitat-forming, branching scleractinian corals and damselfish have critical implications for the function and trophic dynamics of coral reef ecosystems. This study quantifies how different characteristics of reef habitat, and of coral morphology, determine whether fish occupy a coral colony. In situ [...] Read more.
Associations between habitat-forming, branching scleractinian corals and damselfish have critical implications for the function and trophic dynamics of coral reef ecosystems. This study quantifies how different characteristics of reef habitat, and of coral morphology, determine whether fish occupy a coral colony. In situ surveys of aggregative damselfish–coral associations were conducted at 51 different sites distributed among 22 reefs spread along >1700 km of the Great Barrier Reef, to quantify interaction frequency over a large spatial scale. The prevalence of fish–coral associations between five damselfish (Chromis viridis, Dascyllus aruanus, Dascyllus reticulatus, Pomacentrus amboinensis and Pomacentrus moluccensis) and five coral species (Acropora spathulata, Acropora intermedia, Pocillopora damicornis, Seriatopora hystrix, and Stylophora pistillata) averaged ~30% across all corals, but ranged from <1% to 93% of small branching corals occupied at each site, depending on reef exposure levels and habitat. Surprisingly, coral cover was not correlated with coral occupancy, or total biomass of damselfish. Instead, the biomass of damselfish was two-fold greater on sheltered sites compared with exposed sites. Reef habitat type strongly governed these interactions with reef slope/base (25%) and shallow sand-patch habitats (38%) hosting a majority of aggregative damselfish-branching coral associations compared to reef flat (10%), crest (16%), and wall habitats (11%). Among the focal coral species, Seriatopora hystrix hosted the highest damselfish biomass (12.45 g per occupied colony) and Acropora intermedia the least (6.87 g per occupied colony). Analyses of local coral colony traits indicated that multiple factors governed colony usage, including spacing between colonies on the benthos, colony position, and colony branching patterns. Nevertheless, the morphological and habitat characteristics that determine whether or not a colony is occupied by fish varied among coral species. These findings illuminate the realized niche of one of the most important and abundant reef fish families and provide a context for understanding how fish–coral interactions influence coral population and community level processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Coral-Associated Fauna)
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Open AccessArticle
Zooxanthellate, Sclerite-Free, and Pseudopinnuled Octocoral Hadaka nudidomus gen. nov. et sp. nov. (Anthozoa, Octocorallia) from Mesophotic Reefs of the Southern Ryukyus Islands
Diversity 2019, 11(10), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11100176 - 22 Sep 2019
Abstract
Shallow water coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystems, but there is an immense gap in knowledge when it comes to understanding the diversity of the vast majority of marine biota in these ecosystems. This is especially true when it comes to [...] Read more.
Shallow water coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystems, but there is an immense gap in knowledge when it comes to understanding the diversity of the vast majority of marine biota in these ecosystems. This is especially true when it comes to understudied small and cryptic coral reef taxa in understudied ecosystems, such as mesophotic coral reef ecosystems (MCEs). MCEs were reported in Japan almost fifty years ago, although only in recent years has there been an increase in research concerning the diversity of these reefs. In this study we describe the first stoloniferous octocoral from MCEs, Hadaka nudidomus gen. nov. et sp. nov., from Iriomote and Okinawa Islands in the southern Ryukyus Islands. The species is zooxanthellate; both specimens host Cladocopium LaJeunesse & H.J.Jeong, 2018 (formerly Symbiodinium ‘Clade C’) and were collected from depths of ~33 to 40 m. Additionally, H. nudidomus gen. nov. et sp. nov. is both sclerite-free and lacks free pinnules, and both of these characteristics are typically diagnostic for octocorals. The discovery and morphology of H. nudidomus gen. nov. et sp. nov. indicate that we still know very little about stoloniferous octocoral diversity in MCEs, their genetic relationships with shallower reef species, and octocoral–symbiont associations. Continued research on these subjects will improve our understanding of octocoral diversity in both shallow and deeper reefs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Coral-Associated Fauna)
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The Spotted Cleaner Shrimp, Periclimenes yucatanicus (Ives, 1891), on an Unusual Scleractinian Host
Diversity 2019, 11(11), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11110213 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
The spotted cleaner shrimp, Periclimenes yucatanicus (Ives, 1891), forms symbioses with sea anemones that may serve as cleaning stations for reef fishes [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Coral-Associated Fauna)
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