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Identifying AGRRA Corals: Part 1 Mound and Boulder Corals

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Presentation on theme: "Identifying AGRRA Corals: Part 1 Mound and Boulder Corals"— Presentation transcript:

1 Identifying AGRRA Corals: Part 1 Mound and Boulder Corals
Judith Lang and Kenneth Marks Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) Program Revision: © K. Marks 1

2 The following images are Copyright © by New World Publications and by other photographers.
Permission is granted to use the photographs and slides in this presentation with the AGRRA Program and, with attribution, for other valid educational purposes.. All other uses are strictly prohibited. For images used in Part 1, our special thanks to: P. Humann, B. Kakuk, R. McCall, C. Rogers, C. Sheppard, E. Shinn, R. Steneck, T. Turner 2

3 Stony Corals Stony corals have soft polyps above a stony (calcareous) skeleton. Most reef-building corals form colonies of interconnected polyps. The shapes, sizes and colour of the polyps and colonies are used to help identify corals. expanded polyps partially contracted polyps © C. Sheppard

4 The shapes and sizes of polyps are also visible in their underlying skeletons.
elliptical & Y-shaped round long ridges and valleys short, reticulated ridges & valleys © G. Shinn Septa are conspicuous vertical partitions in the polyp wall. Coral Skeletons separated polyps interconnected polyps

5 What to Look for Underwater
Adapted from P.R. Kramer Colony shape – massive (= mound, columnar, heavy plates), crust, plate, branching Colony size range – small to big Colony surface – bumpy, smooth, ridged Polyp size – small to big Polyp shape – round, elliptical, irregular, Y-shaped, meandroid (= short or long ridges and valleys) Polyp colour – brown, tan, yellow, olive, green, red Septal shape – fat, thin; smooth, toothed What to Look for Underwater

6 The stony corals illustrated here are limited to species that are found in the wider Caribbean at depths (<20 m) that are typical of most AGRRA surveys. The names of some corals are changing as a result of modern research. Expect updates! For each species: (number in m and ft = maximum colony size) AGRRA Coral Species

7 Coding Corals in AGRRA Surveys
Use the CARICOMP-based coral codes. The coral code for a genus is the first 4 letters of its genus name. ACRO = Acropora Use the genus code whenever you are unsure of a coral’s species identity. The coral code for a species is the first letter of the genus name followed by the first 3 letters of its species name. APAL = Acropora palmata

8 Montastraea faveolata MFAV
small round polyps mounds with “skirted” (platy) edges, or thick plates diverse colours: green, brown, grey can grow very large (to ~ 4-5 m/12-15 ft) MFAV © K. Marks © C. Rogers

9 Montastraea faveolata MFAV
surfaces smooth, ridged or with bumps aligned in vertical rows mounds flatten when shaded or in deeper water © K. Marks © R. Steneck shallow/high light deep/low light

10 Montastraea annularis MANN
small round polyps that are alive at the tops of columns form plates at colony bases under low light conditions often light brown or yellow-brown large (to ~ 3-4 m/9-12 ft) MANN © R. Steneck © C. Sheppard

11 Montastraea annularis MANN
How differs from M. faveolata: subdivides to form columns, with basal plates under low light conditions live polyps on column tops lack a skirt-like edge lighter tissue colours © K. Marks

12 Montastraea franksi MFRA
irregular bumps with large polyps that are pale or lack zooxanthellae (can see skeleton below) large polyps along colony margin aggressive spatial competitor MFRA © K. Marks © P. Humann

13 Montastraea franksi MFRA
© T. Turner deep/low light: thick, lumpy plates shallow/high light: irregularly shaped mounds © K. Marks can grow quite large (to ~ 3-4 m/9-12 ft)

14 Montastraea franksi MFRA
How similar to M. faveolata: have bumps on large mounds, crusts or thick plates How differs: larger polyps overall polyps on bumps are even bigger, irregularly shaped, and often lack zooxanthellae a more aggressive spatial competitor © K. Marks Montastraea franksi MFRA

15 Montastraea franksi MFRA
How similar to M. annularis: can have large columns or thick plates How different: enlarged polyps in irregular bumps can lack zooxanthellae large polyps along growing margins a more aggressive spatial competitor Montastraea franksi MFRA © R. Steneck

16 Which is Which? M. annularis M. franksi M. faveolata MANN MFRA MFAV
© B. Kakuk © K. Marks M. annularis M. franksi M. faveolata MANN MFRA MFAV

17 Complications! Some colonies look like “intermediates” of
M. franksi, M. annularis and M. faveolata. If unsure of species identity, code as Montastraea MONT “In general, the genetic and morphological data suggest a north to south* hybridization gradient, with evidence for introgression strongest in the north. However, reproductive data show no such trend, with intrinsic barriers to gene flow comparable or stronger in the north.” Fukami et al. (2004) Evolution 58: *north to south = Bahamas versus Panama

18 Solenastrea bournoni SBOU
small round polyps with protruding walls (“outies”) polyp centers are slightly darker than the outer walls smooth or irregularly shaped mounds (usually to ~ 50 cm/20 in) SBOU © K. Marks © K. Marks 1 m

19 Solenastrea bournoni SBOU
How differs from M. franksi: bumps on mounds lack enlarged, colourless polyps lighter colours; central areas of polyps are darker than the outer walls smaller colonies © K. Marks

20 Which is Which? M. franksi S. bournoni MFRA SBOU © C. Rogers
© K. Marks M. franksi S. bournoni MFRA SBOU

21 Solenastrea hyades SHYA
How similar to S. bournoni: light colours polyps with distinct walls (to ~ 60 cm/2 ft) How differs: irregular lobes above an encrusting base © P. Humann SHYA

22 Montastraea cavernosa MCAV
Close-up MCAV © K. Marks large, round, distinct polyps (“outies”) brown, yellow-brown, green or grey pink or orange fluorescence sometimes seen underwater is due to a photosynthetic cyanobacterium (blue-green alga) in the polyps

23 Montastraea cavernosa MCAV
shallow/high light: mounds or columns (to ~ 3 m/9 ft) © K. Marks 23

24 Montastraea cavernosa MCAV
© T. Turner deep/low light: flattened, massive plates or crusts © K. Marks 24

25 Dichocoenia stokesi DSTO
protruding, round, elliptical, elongate, or Y-shaped polyps cream, yellow, or brown mounds or irregular shapes (to 50 cm/18 in) © K. Marks DSTO Close-up 25

26 Dichocoenia stokesi DSTO
© K. Marks How differs from M. cavernosa: polyps are more separate, and round, elliptical, Y-shaped, or sometimes very elongate septa on vertical (not sloping) walls are more distinct smaller colonies Close-up 26

27 © K. Marks Dichocoenia DICH Colonies with flattened plates, and many small round polyps, were previously called Dichocoenia stellaris. Their identity, and that of columnar or irregularly shaped “intermediates” with flattened bases, is unclear. 27

28 Favia fragum FFRA distinct, round-elongated polyps (some Y-shaped)
septa have small teeth (see next slide) pale yellow to brown small (usually to ~ 10 cm/4 in) FFRA © K. Marks © K. Marks

29 Favia fragum FFRA How similar to D. stokesi:
© K. Marks Favia fragum FFRA How similar to D. stokesi: distinct, round-elongated polyps, some are Y-shaped How differs: polyp walls protrude far less polyps are less separate thinner septa with teeth on summits and inner sides smaller when fully grown

30 Which is Which? D. stokesi M. cavernosa F. fragum DSTO MCAV FRA
© K. Marks D. stokesi M. cavernosa F. fragum DSTO MCAV FRA

31 Siderastrea siderea SSID
sunken polyps (“innies”) thin septa uniform colours large mounds (to ~ 2 m/6 ft) © K. Marks SSID

32 Siderastrea siderea SSID
some pale or bleached colonies are fluorescent © K. Marks 32

33 Siderastrea radians SRAD
sunken “pinched” polyps (“innies”) thick septa pale polyp walls, centers dark crusts, low mounds or unattached nodules small (to ~ 30 cm/12 in) SRAD © K. Marks Close-up 33

34 Siderastrea radians SRAD
© K. Marks How differs from S. siderea: septa are fewer and thicker “pinched” polyps, some elongate, and with darker centers smaller, flatter colonies 34

35 Which is Which? © P. Humann Close-up S. siderea S. radians SSID SRAD

36 Stephanocoenia intersepta SINT
round, sunken polyps thick septa brown colour is most intense in polyp centers; appear to “blush” when polyps contract thick crusts, irregular mounds (to ~ 1 m/3 ft) © K. Marks SINT SINT SINT SINT 36

37 Stephanocoenia intersepta SINT
How similar to Solenastrea bournoni: small, round polyps with light colours that are most intense in polyp centers How differs: sunken (not protuberant) polyps crusts and low mounds usually have smoother surfaces © K. Marks 37

38 Stephanocoenia intersepta SINT
How similar to Siderastrea radians: sunken polyps with dark polyp centers How differs: “blushes” when tissues contract no “pinched” polyps larger crusts and mounds © K. Marks 38

39 Which is Which? S. intersepta S.radians S. bournoni SINT SRAD SBOU 39
© K. Marks S. intersepta S.radians S. bournoni SINT SRAD SBOU 39

40 Porites astreoides PAST
shallow: usually lumpy mounds and yellow, yellow-green or olive deep: usually thick crusts, lumpy or flattened plates and grey or brown (usually to ~ 1 m/3 ft) © C. Sheppard PAST © K. Marks

41 Porites astreoides PAST
all depths: tall, thin polyps look “fuzzy” when expanded “unusual” shape/colour combinations can occur Porites astreoides PAST Close-up © C. Sheppard © K. Marks


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