[Coral-List] threatened coral Can we tell them apart?
zac at hawaii.edu
Tue Sep 2 18:12:22 EDT 2014
Dear Steve and Coral List,
I fully agree with Steve that the next steps should be to reduce
taxonomic uncertainty and data deficiency. These were cited as the
main reasons why NOAA reduced the number petitioned by the CBD from 83
down to the list of 20 threatened species.
We need a concerted effort to bring researchers together to work on
this problem. Molecular studies are rapidly transforming the field,
but many of these surprising findings need additional corroboration by
morphometrics, histology, and reproductive studies. Collaborative
workshops and student funding are the key to moving forward.
Last year we brought together 40 participants for the 2013 Pauley
Program at Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology to generate
next-generation sequencing data as a resource for examine species
boundaries for several of the Hawaiian petitioned corals and other
cnidarians. We are now working on mining this data and testing
markers for larger scale biogeographic surveys. We are also working on
incorporating morphometric data and trying to figure out how to
culture rare coral.
Given the geographic isolation of Hawaii I think it's a great place to
focus efforts and as a meeting place for the Pacific.
There is a lot of work to be done but hopefully now that the issue has
gained some attention we can focus on making progress and forging
ahead. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help get the ball
All the best. -Zac
Zac H. Forsman, Ph.D.
Researcher, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
Coral Specialist, State of Hawaii, DLNR, DAR
Affiliate Faculty, Hawaii Pacific University
Academia edu: https://hawaii.academia.edu/ZacForsman
On Sun, Aug 31, 2014 at 11:21 AM, Steve Palumbi <spalumbi at stanford.edu> wrote:
> Hi all, The NOAA list of threatened corals has a number of Acropora species in the Pacific shared by Guam, Samoa, the Northern Marianas, or the remote Pacific islands: Acropora speciosa, A. retusa, and A. globiceps. How many people in the world can positively identify them? Can we create a way to do this more easily? Are they actually the same species across this vast range? I am wondering if a very specific application of traditional and molecular taxonomy might help.
> First, who in the world currently has the expertise and experience to identify these corals? I am asking for people who have, or know who has, to chime in here and I'll construct the list.
> Second, can we get these people to locations in Samoa, Guam etc, to collect and positively identify specimens?
> Third, can we use these voucher specimens to define molecular genetic traits across the genome that would distinguish the species from other similar ones? And by comparing vouchers from the same species from different locations could we confirm these vouchers actually belong to the same biological species?
> Fourth, would agency biologists in the field find this a useful and positive activity that may help them define their response to the recent listing?
> I'm curious about the List's opinions here and if there are additional approaches that might be valuable.
> Stephen R. Palumbi
> Harold A Miller Director, Hopkins Marine Station
> Jane and Marshall Steel Professor of Biology
> Stanford University
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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