[Coral-List] threatened coral Can we tell them apart?

Esther Peters estherpeters at verizon.net
Mon Sep 1 16:19:08 EDT 2014

This is a great idea, Steve! I also highly recommend examining 
histological samples to see if there are soft tissue characters that 
might be helpful in their identification, as well as understanding their 
reproductive cycles, which might also distinguish them as valid species. 
This "phenotypic anchoring" is crucial for interpreting molecular data, 
and will be a good application in this taxonomic investigation.

Esther Peters
George Mason University

On 8/31/2014 5:21 PM, Steve Palumbi 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.
> best
> Steve
> **********************************
> Stephen R. Palumbi
> Harold A Miller Director, Hopkins Marine Station
> Jane and Marshall Steel Professor of Biology
> Stanford University
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