[Coral-List] terminology for coral tissues and ultrastructural features

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Sun Jan 28 19:54:13 EST 2018

I'd just like to add that sometimes these distinctions are useful, such as
"spicules" being structures in sponges, while "sclerites" are structures in
soft corals.  Most spicutes are made of glass and have quite different
shapes than the sclerates in soft corals, which are calcium carbonate.

Also, in Scleractinia, the structure that a polyp sits in or is attached
to, is a "corallite."  If it is cup-shaped, as it often is, the term
"corallite" includes both the inside and the outside of the cup.  The
"calice" is just the inside of the cup.  "Calice" is an old form of the
word "chalice", which means cup.  The word "calyx" is a term for similar
structures in soft corals and plants, though on occasion I have read it
being used for Scleractinia.  Leading coral taxonomists Veron, Wallace,
Randall, Pichon, Claereboudt, Budd, Lamberts, Cairns, Ditlev, Nemenzo and
Wells all use "calice", but I see that Hoeksema (1989) used "calyx".  I
often hear "calice" pronounced with a hard "a", which makes it sound so
similar to "calyx" that I'm not sure which the speaker intends.  "Chalice"
is pronounced with a soft "a" and so I pronounce "calice" with a soft "a",
hoping that makes it clearer what I'm talking about.  Anyone is free to
pronounce it however they like, or use any word that they like.  There is
no system for deciding these things like there is for the scientific naming
of species.

Another one is that not long ago, I saw a paper in Science that referred to
some corals as "tabletop corals."  I'd never heard that term, though I work
on corals.  The commonly used term is "table corals," referring to species
such as *Acropora hyacinthus*, *Acropora cytherea*, *Acropora clathrata*,
etc.  A quick search on the web revealed other instances in which the term
"tabletop coral" has been used.  Again, people can call these corals
anything they want (only the scientific names are subject to the rules of
the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature).  But if a community
uses the same names, that may facilitate communication.  And communication
is surely one of the goals of writing papers.  "Table coral" is much more
frequently used than "tabletop coral", and the latter is used infrequently
enough that many people, like me, when seeing it the first time, may wonder
whether maybe there may be a difference between a "tabletop coral" and a
"table coral" (as far as I know there is not, they refer to the same
species and shapes).  Having a whole variety of different terms that people
use in different ways (as long ago was done in English spelling), may not
facilitate accurate communication.

Cheers,  Doug

On Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 11:15 AM, Lorenzo Menzel <lorenzo.menzel at fiu.edu>

> Hi Thomas,
> There may seem to be different terms used for similar tissues, but
> your example of coenosarc and coenenchyme for tissue between polyps
> might not be the best: coenosarc is mainly used with hard corals, i.e.
> hexacorallia, while coenenchyme is used mainly with soft corals e.g.
> octocorallia in my experience. In fact I have used coenenchyme for an
> octocoral in a 2015 publication (Histology and ultrastructure of the
> coenenchyme of the octocoral Swiftia exserta, a model organism for
> innate immunity/graft rejection) based on the precedents set by Bayer
> in 1956, 1961, 1974, and 1983; Kingsley in 1982 and 1983; von Koch in
> 1887; and Silveira and van't Hoff in 1977.
> Lorenzo
> > Message: 4
> > Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2018 14:05:25 +0100
> > From: Thomas Krueger <thomas.krueger at epfl.ch>
> > Subject: [Coral-List] terminology for coral tissues and
> >       ultrastructural features
> > To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov,
> >       cnidarian-dinoflagellate-symbiosis at gump.auburn.edu
> > Message-ID: <d7016a35-2dbb-7870-ec3e-52e33c6372c0 at epfl.ch>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> >
> > Hi everyone,
> >
> > I wanted to ask if there is a universal guide or glossary list of terms
> > appropriate to use when describing coral histology and ultrastructure.
> > Thanks to a colleague, I realized that there are multiple terms for the
> > same type of tissues. E.g. the literature uses the terms "coenosarc" as
> > well as "coenenchyme" for the connecting tissue between individual
> > polyps. A guide from the Coral Disease and Health Workshop: Coral
> > histopathology II (2005) provides a nice overview about a number of
> > terms (http://aquaticcommons.org/2236/1/rpt_full.pdf) and I am tempted
> > to use them. Is there a standard reference for the naming of specific
> > coral tissues? Thanks.
> >
> > All the best,
> >
> > Thomas
> >
> > --
> >
> > *--*
> >
> > *Thomas Krueger */Postdoctoral Researcher/
> >
> > Laboratory for Biological Geochemistry | ?cole polytechnique f?d?rale de
> > Lausanne (EPFL)
> >
> > *P*: (+41)?21 69 38039
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
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Douglas Fenner
Contractor for NOAA NMFS Protected Species, and consultant
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

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