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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 163:279-283 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/meps163279

Differential regeneration of artificial lesions among sympatric morphs of the Caribbean corals Porites astreoides and Stephanocoenia michelinii

I. Nagelkerken1,2,3,*, R. P. M. Bak1,3

1Institute for Systematics and Population Biology, University of Amsterdam, Mauritskade 61, PO Box 94766, 1090 GT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2Carmabi Foundation, PO Box 2090, Piscaderabaai z/n, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
3Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg,Texel, The Netherlands

Regeneration of artificial lesions was studied as an ecophysiological character in 2 morphs of Porites astreoides and Stephanocoenia michelinii to contribute to a better understanding of their presently unclear taxonomic status. As a reference, regeneration was also studied in 3 species/morphs of Madracis. P. astreoides consists of a green and a brown morph, while S. michelinii consists of an encrusting morph with widely spaced corallites and a massive morph with compacted polyps. Regeneration was significantly faster in the green P. astreoides and in the encrusting S. michelinii. No significant differences were found among the Madracis species/morphs. The energy required for faster regeneration in the 2 morphs was apparently not generated as a result of elevated densities of zooxanthellae or chlorophyll a. The green P. astreoides which occurs at more shallow depths, and perhaps also the encrusting S. michelinii, may be better adapted to the increased disturbances at shallow depths by means of, among other things, faster regeneration of lesions.

Regeneration · Lesions · Corals · Differentiation · Porites astreoides · Stephanocoenia michelinii · Madracis

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