[Coral-List] Origin of Corals?

Melbourne Briscoe mel at briscoe.com
Tue Dec 15 21:27:31 UTC 2020

Thanks for this, Doug. I guess no one else wants to weigh in! It also seems
like no one wants to apply a little critical thinking to some of those
dozen theories. For example, your last paragraph mentions a "vortex
theory." If it has been assessed, and discarded, I'm not surprised. The
life times of coral eggs/sperm drifting across the Pacific are much shorter
than the time it takes to get there. I can only see the abstract, but the
methodology is not compelling.
- Mel

On Sat, Dec 12, 2020 at 4:39 PM Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>

> There are about a dozen theories for the marine biogeographic pattern with
> the center of diversity in the Coral Triangle.  I'm not up on the current
> state of this, so I'll let others speak to it and will be interested in
> what they say.  However, it just so happens that Science just published an
> article that appears to me to be relevant, even though it is about birds
> and not corals.
> Diversity hotspots: coldspots of speciation?
> https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6522/1268
> <https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6522/1268?utm_campaign=toc_sci-mag_2020-12-10&et_rid=17045989&et_cid=3593354>
> The evolution of a tropical biodiversity hotspot
> https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6522/1343
> I believe that this is the opposite pattern to have been reported in the
> first publication to report the diversity pattern for corals (at the genus
> level), Stehli and Wells, 1971.  They reported that coral genera in
> high-diversity areas were younger than in lower diversity areas.
> Theories of why corals show this pattern have been very difficult to
> test.  Veron 2000 shows the current map for coral species, genera, and
> families, might also be on his website, www.coralsoftheworld.org  Fish
> show the same pattern as shown in Figure 14-11 on page 308 in Goldberg's
> text on coral reefs, based on data from Gerry Allen.  Chuck Birkeland
> pointed out that echinoderms show a similar pattern, in his 1989 book
> chapter on "The influence of echinoderms on coral-reef communities."  He
> shows in his Table 1 the data for each class of echinoderms separately, at
> 10 locations, a very strong pattern for every class.  Take a look at this
> chapter, it is an education on echinoderms on reefs.
> One interesting idea was that of the "vortex model", that westward flowing
> currents in the Pacific carried newly evolved coral species westward,
> causing them to accumulate in the western Pacific area of highest
> diversity.  Jokeil & Martinelli, 1992.  There was also a similar study that
> modeled the effect of the large number of islands and reefs concentrated in
> the western Pacific vs the very sparse reefs in the eastern Pacific, and
> reported that was sufficient to produce the pattern on its own as well.  I
> never found that publication, does anybody know it?
> Cheers,  Doug
> Birkeland  1989.   The influence of echinoderms on coral-reef communities.
> https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Charles_Birkeland/publication/284657222_The_influence_of_echinoderms_on_coral-reef_communities/links/56b4c6d308aebbde1a7793c7.pdf
> Goldberg.  2013.  The biology of reefs and reef organisms.  Univ
> Chicago Press
> Jokiel & Martinelli.  1992.  The vortex model of coral reef biogeography.
> Journal of Biogeography.
> https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2845572.pdf
> Stehli and Wells.   1971. Diversity and age patterns in hermatypic
> corals.
> http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download
> On Sat, Dec 12, 2020 at 6:44 AM Melbourne Briscoe via Coral-List <
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
>> What is the currently accepted theory for the global distribution of
>> corals?
>> Is it still the "spreading from the epicenter in the Coral Triangle" as I
>> learned many years ago or is there a more accepted idea today?
>> thanks -
>> - Mel Briscoe
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