Hybridization in Acropora

Robert W. Buddemeier buddrw at ku.edu
Fri Feb 14 13:16:15 EST 2003

On this topic, if you have not already seen it you might be interested in:
Carlson BA (1999) Organism responses to rapid change:  what aquaria tell
us about nature. American Zoologist 39:44-55

Bob Buddemeier

Sam Jones wrote:

> 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
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     From: Pedro Alcolado <mailto:alcolado at ama.cu>
>     To: coral-list at aoml.noaa.gov <mailto:coral-list at aoml.noaa.gov>
>     Sent: Friday, February 14, 2003 11:53 AM
>     Subject: Hybridization in Acropora
>     Dear listers,
>     I was fascinated reading Vollmer and Palumbi´s recent paper on
>     hybridization of Acropora palmata and cervicornis. It establishes
>     clearly and convincingly the facts of that issue. But reading this
>     paper I remembered an anecdote of mine. A few years ago I was
>     visisting quite frequently (for different reasons, once staying 10
>     days there working on sponges) the nice Aquarium of Xcaret,
>     Cancun. I was witness of something I think is amazing. In the big
>     bowl representing the reef crest, there was a trasplanted Acropora
>     palmata colony (the biggest one among others). There was full
>     illumination and a wave simulator, with good water circulation
>     there. I was able to observe how that colony was slowly being
>     transformed in a prolifera bushy-palmate like fenotype. The ends
>     of the palmate branches began to show short arising (in the same
>     plane of the branch top) acute branches typical of prolifera, and
>     the skeleton remaining between them becoming quite traslucent
>     (looking like a duck foot illuminated at the opposite site). I
>     wonder what was the final outcome of this gradual transformation.
>     I observed that about 4 years (maybe less or more, I do not
>     remember exactly) after I saw this colony for the first time. I
>     would suggest that appart from well proved genetically derived
>     prolifera like fenotypes, some kinds of changes in environmental
>     variables (at least in acquarium conditions) would be able to lead
>     also to the same bushy-palmate fenotype (maybe due to weaker
>     hidrodynamic regime). Really interesting, no?
>     Best wishes,
>     Pedro Alcolado

Dr. Robert W. Buddemeier
Kansas Geological Survey
University of Kansas
1930 Constant Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66047 USA
e-mail: buddrw at ku.edu
ph (1) (785) 864-2112
fax (1) (785) 864-5317

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