Hybridization in Acropora

Sam Jones sjones at wcs.org
Fri Feb 14 12:47:22 EST 2003

Hi Pedro,
Very interesting observation indeed.  Thank you for sharing it.  I continue
to marvel at the phenotypic plasticity of corals.  I've noticed a number of
interspecific morphological differences in both the field and in the lab,
cultured corals.  Without a doubt, environmental conditions within an
aquarium (or the field) can influence a number of coral physiological
properties to include branch spacing, coloration, growth rates, growth
forms, etc.  The spectral quality and quantity of light (GFP, MAA,
Symbiodinium concentration/type), nutrients (Symbiodinium growth rates),
various water circulation properties (e.g. speed, laminar vs. oscillatory,
etc.), general system chemistry, etc. are some of the environmental
parameters that can be 'tweaked.'   It's possible to take a single colony of
a highly phenotypically plastic coral head (e.g. P. damicornis), put
fragments of the colony under different environmental conditions, and
observe different physiological responses.  The Aquarium is a wonderful
place to do this kind of work.  If you get a chance, you may want to check
our Veron and Pichon's "Scleractinia of Eastern Australia", Part 1, Families
Thamnasteriidae, Astrocoeniidae, and Pocilloporidae; this book demonstrates
quite nicely the impressive array of interspecific morphologies from corals
under various environmental conditions.
Sam Jones

 Manager, Ex Situ Coral Conservation Research Laboratory
 Wildlife Conservation Society
 The New York Aquarium
 Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences
 Boardwalk at West 8th St.
 Brooklyn, NY 11224

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