Literature request for Palythoa/scleractinian interaction

alberto alcosta laacosta55 at
Mon Jun 5 12:41:58 EDT 2000

Dear Cheryl

I have follow Palythoa caribaeorum closely during more than 4 years in Sao 
Paulo coast, Brazil and also in Colombian Caribbean coast. I agree with Dr. 
Burnett that corals die for many reasons (euthophication etc..) and later 
the free space is colonize by Zoanthids. After colonization Zoanthids can 
keep the space for many years or decades, it can be done throughout several 
mechanisms of asexual reproduction and active competition.  Some of the 
mechanisms of asexual strategies I have documented in my Ph.D. thesis that 
you can find at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium library (LUMCON).  
I have seen  few times Palythoa/scleractinian interactions in the field, but 
frequently Palythoa - Zoanthus interactions, or sponge or ascidea - Palythoa 
interactions.  In my experience, species that arrive close to zoanthids 
remain in stand-off for months or years, of coarse who wins it will depends 
of many factors but usually this process its takes time.
Palythoa caribaeorum is now the dominant specie in shallow areas in Santa 
Marta, Colombian Caribbean coast were 20 years ago was occupied by hard 
corals.  This place in my point of view was affected hardly by 
eutrophication and sedimentation process.
In Sao paulo coast, Rio de Janeiro and Recife Brazil I have found 
extensively areas dominated by Palythoa caribaeorum.  I can say that this is 
one of the key benthic species in these systems.  I have measured colonies 
as big as 32m2.

I think that zoanthids will cover more and more space in the next future and 
probably they will receive more attention by coral scientist.

Further reference
Undergraduate thesis in Palythoa caribaeorum.

Marcela Gonzalez. 1999. Colony size vs. fission. Pontificia Universidad 
Javeriana, Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Biologia, Bogota, Colombia. 

Alberto Acosta
Asociate Professor
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
Bogota, Colombia

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