Deep water corals

McCarty and Peters McCarty_and_Peters at
Fri May 26 21:30:00 EDT 2000

Don McAllister commented:

>>I don't pretend to know the correct word for deep water corals lacking

There are several terms that have been applied to this situation:

ahermatypic -  meaning does not build reefs, 

asymbiotic -  originally coined to mean not containing zooxanthellae, and

azooxanthellate - later used when some curmudgeon reviewer complained that
asymbiotic implied no symbiotic relationships at all, whereas what was
really meant was no appreciable zooxanthellae concentrations.

This entire debate was fought through over the status of Astrangia danae,
now Astrangia poculata, a temperate coral found in the waters of New
England.  A. poculata occurs side by side in forms with a brown color
characteristic of its zooxanthellae and as pure white, with no
zooxanthellae, and in various shades in between.

This species is NOT a deep water one, admittedly, as it can occur in as
little as 10 feet of water and is found as deep as 90 feet or more.  It
represents a bridge between the "lifestyles" of the tropical reefs that get
all the attention and the deep water corals known only to those brave or
foolish enough to go looking for them <g>.

We presented a poster on the whole "hermatypic does not equal
zooxanthellate" argument in 1984 at the Atlantic Reef Committee meeting in
Florida -

McCarty, H.B., M.E.Q. Pilson, J. McManus, and  E.C. Peters.  When is a
hermatype not a hermatype?  Poster presented at Atlantic Reef Committee and
the International Society for Reef Studies, Advances in Reef Science
Meeting, pp. 78-79 Abstracts, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric
Science, University of Miami, 26-28 October 1984.  

Just my two cents worth....

Chip McCarty

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