McCarty and Peters McCarty_and_Peters at compuserve.com
Sun Nov 4 20:24:20 EST 2001


>> In 1985, Schuhmacher and Zibrowius (Coral Reefs 4:1-9) distinguished
between zooxanthellate and hermatypic, which had until then been used more
or less interchangeably (so read the earlier literature with that in mind).

Yes, but we beat them by at least a year:

When is a Hermatype Not a Hermatype?, McCarty, H. B., Peters, E. C.,
McManus, J. W., and Pilson, M. E. Q., Atlantic Reef Committee, Advances in
Reef Science Meeting, Miami, Florida, October 1984.

Anne is not the first to face this terminology problem.  Everyone else
working on A. poculata (earlier A. danae and A. astreiformis) has faced the
issue of the terminology, as well as the issue of explaining how and why
the two forms (with and without significant concentrations of
zooxanthellae) can exist side-by-side, and can change zooxanthellae
densities over time.

The problem was described in:

Peters, E.C., and M.E.Q. Pilson.  1985.  A comparative study of the effects
of sedimentation stress on symbiotic and asymbiotic colonies of the coral
Astrangia danae Milne Edwards & Haime 1849.  J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 92:

as well.

In fact, most of us started using "zooxanthellate" instead of symbiotic in
1982 after a reviewer brought up the issue that asymbiotic "implies no
other symbioses" in reviewing:

Cummings, C. E. and McCarty, H. B. 1982. Stable Carbon Isotope Ratios in
Astrangia danae:  Evidence for Algal Modification of Carbon Pools used in
Calcification, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 46: 1125-1129.

The problem is that even "azooxanthellate" is inadequate, since the corals
may harbor small, but countable numbers of algae in their tissues.

Anne, I'm sorry to say that none of us ever found a suitable solution for
the terminology.  The earlier suggestion of "facultative zooxanthellate"
certainly does not flow off the tongue, nor does it adequately describe the
life history of species such as A. poculata (or a similar situation in
Oculina varicosa and others).

>From a functional standpoint "brown" and "white" describe the situation in
A. poculata about as well as anything else.

The problem is that we are no further along in explaining the
"relationship" than we are with the terminology.  Both still need work.

Maybe if more tropical researchers would don wet suits and brave the
northern waters at 6 degrees C when they are so clear, we'd get a better
term. <g>

Chip McCarty
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