Allometric growth in reef-building corals

Dornelas, Maria, Madin, Joshua S., Baird, Andrew H., and Connolly, Sean R. (2017) Allometric growth in reef-building corals. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 284 (1851). 20170053.

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Predicting demographic rates is a critical part of forecasting the future of ecosystems under global change. Here, we test if growth rates can be predicted from morphological traits for a highly diverse group of colonial symbiotic organisms: scleractinian corals. We ask whether growth is isometric or allometric among corals, and whether most variation in coral growth rates occurs at the level of the species or morphological group. We estimate growth as change in planar area for 11 species, across five morphological groups and over 5 years. We show that coral growth rates are best predicted from colony size and morphology rather than species. Coral size follows a power scaling law with a constant exponent of 0.91. Despite being colonial organisms, corals have consistent allometric scaling in growth. This consistency simplifies the task of projecting community responses to disturbance and climate change.

Item ID: 50299
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0962-8452
Keywords: allometry, scaling, traits, morphology, Scleractinia
Funders: ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies, Australian Research Council (ARC), Scottish Funding Council (SFC), ERC
Projects and Grants: SFC MASTS-HR09011, ERC BioTIME 250189
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 07:44
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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