Towards a phylogenetic classification of reef corals: the Indo-Pacific genera Merulina, Goniastrea and Scapophyllia (Scleractinia, Merulinidae)

Huang, Danwei, Benzoni, Francesca, Arrigoni, Roberto, Baird, Andrew H., Berumen, Michael, Bouwmeester, Jessica, Chou, Loke Ming, Fukami, Hironobu, Licuanan, Wilfredo Y., Lovell, Edward R., Meier, Rudolf, Todd, Peter A., and Budd, Ann F. (2014) Towards a phylogenetic classification of reef corals: the Indo-Pacific genera Merulina, Goniastrea and Scapophyllia (Scleractinia, Merulinidae). Zoologica Scripta, 43 (5). pp. 531-548.

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Recent advances in scleractinian systematics and taxonomy have been achieved through the integration of molecular and morphological data, as well as rigorous analysis using phylogenetic methods. In this study, we continue in our pursuit of a phylogenetic classification by examining the evolutionary relationships between the closely related reef coral genera Merulina, Goniastrea, Paraclavarina and Scapophyllia (Merulinidae). In particular, we address the extreme polyphyly of Favites and Goniastrea that was discovered a decade ago. We sampled 145 specimens belonging to 16 species from a wide geographic range in the Indo-Pacific, focusing especially on type localities, including the Red Sea, western Indian Ocean and central Pacific. Tree reconstructions based on both nuclear and mitochondrial markers reveal a novel lineage composed of three species previously placed in Favites and Goniastrea. Morphological analyses indicate that this clade, Paragoniastrea Huang, Benzoni & Budd, gen. n., has a unique combination of corallite and subcorallite features observable with scanning electron microscopy and thin sections. Molecular and morphological evidence furthermore indicates that the monotypic genus Paraclavarina is nested within Merulina, and the former is therefore synonymised.

Item ID: 36114
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1463-6409
Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), KAUST, Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS)
Projects and Grants: NSF Grant DEB-1145043-1145408, WRS Ah Meng Memorial Conservation Fund R-154-000-507-720, KAUST Award CRG-1-BER-002 award, JSPS KAKENHI Grant 22370033
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 12:35
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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