Measuring growth of shape in stony corals

Jaap Kaandorp jaapk at
Tue Jun 5 04:05:58 EDT 2001

Dear Les,

Regarding your question about quantifying changes in both size and shape of
branching corals. In my research I am working on simulation models
for growth and form of sponges and stony corals. One important
prerequisite in this research is the availability of methods for
comparing simulated and actual growth forms. By my knowledge there
are very few methods available for the morphological analysis of
organisms like corals, most methods are more suitable for the
analysis of unitary organisms. Since these methods were needed
for my research I have been working on a few methods: measurements
based on centerlines, which you can generate by thinning algorithms
and measurements based on the computation of various fractal dimensions.
In J. Theor. Biol., 175:39--55, 1995 and Mar. Biol. 134:295-306 (1999) 
methods were published suitable for the morphological analysis of 2D 
pictures of branching corals and sponges. A recent paper about this
topic is also published by Edward Abraham (Mar. Biol.138:503-510 (2001)).
Currently we are also working on methods for a full 3D analysis of
growth forms of stony corals, preliminary work on this and a overview
of various other methods (for example Horton analysis) for the 
morphological analysis of branching organisms will be discussed in a 
chapter of the book (the book will be published this year):

J.A. Kaandorp and J.E. Kuebler, The algorithmic beauty
of seaweeds, sponges and corals, Springer-Verlag,
Heidelberg, New York, 2001

Hopefully there is something useful for you between these publications,
please let me know if you have any questions about it and if you think
I can help you with this.

best regards,

Jaap Kaandorp

Jaap Kaandorp
Section Computational Science
Faculty of Science
University of Amsterdam
Kruislaan 403
1098 SJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 5257539 / +31 20 5257463
email: jaapk at
fax: +31 20 5257490

> Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 11:00:16 -0400
> From: Les Kaufman <lesk at>
> Subject: Measuring growth of shape in stony corals
> Many of us face the problem of quantifying changes in both size and
> shape of corals as they grow.  What computational approaches are folks
> currently using for the latter, the measuring of changes in colony form,
> for ramose/branching species like finger and staghorn corals?
> - -- 
> Les Kaufman
> Biology Department
> Boston University
> 5 Cummington St.
> Boston, MA 02215
> lesk at
> 617-353-5560 office
> 617-353-6965 lab
> 617-353-6340 fax
> and
> 7 MBL St.
> Woods Hole, MA 02543
> 508-289-7579 office
> 508-289-7950 fax

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