[Coral-List] Taking live coral polyp samples

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Sat Aug 6 19:29:13 EDT 2011

Hi Melissa et al:

For reproductive studies, one must sample from at least 5 cm or more from the edge of encrusting/massive growth forms (and usually 10 cm or more from a growing tip) to get to sexually mature polyps.  The peripheral/axial polyps are generally not reproductive in most species (all the ones I have studied except for small growth forms such as Favia fragum).  This does present a potential problem for healing if the colonies are not healthy.  In former times, small lesions taken from mid-colony would heal just fine (see older work by Bak's group; I am sure there is newer work too).   So one has to decide how important a mid-colony sample is and likelihood of causing major damage to the colony sampled.  But there aren't too many other ways to get reproductive cycle data other than wait around for spawning...


Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
Center for Marine Science and Dept of Biology and Marine Biology
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409 USA
tel:  910-962-2362  fax: 910-962-2410  cell: 910-200-3913

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of MelissaE Keyes
Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2011 12:31 PM
To: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Taking live coral polyp samples

Hello, Listers,
In my observations of corals in the last few years, I have seen corals recover from polyp death from innundation by sand moving in as a result of storms.  The smothered edges of colonies regrew without much trouble once the sand moved away.
I have also observed damage (from various causes) to polyps in the middle of colonies not repairing.  A wound becoming larger over time. 
Jess Jarett just wrote:  "I avoid sampling from the edges of colonies."
What is normal practice for taking samples??
Hmm, now I will have to go try to dig out photos, eh?
Melissa Keyes

Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, 
U.S.Virgin Islands
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