Discovery of the dendrophylliid scleractinian Heteropsammia cochlea (Spengler, 1781) in Halimeda bioherms of the Northern Great Barrier Reef

Borghi, Stefano, Clements, Matthew, Webb, Monique, Bostock, Helen, Webster, Jody M., McNeil, Mardi, Nothdurft, Luke, and Byrne, Maria (2023) Discovery of the dendrophylliid scleractinian Heteropsammia cochlea (Spengler, 1781) in Halimeda bioherms of the Northern Great Barrier Reef. Marine Biodiversity, 53 (3). 39.

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Abstract

Halimeda bioherms on the Northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) extend for over 6000 km2. To explore the ecological and biogeographical importance of these bioherms was one of the aims of a recent voyage on the Research Vessel (RV) Investigator. Through the use of underwater images and habitat sampling, we found populations of Heteropsammia cochlea (Spengler, 1781) living in the bioherms. The scleractinian coral genus Heteropsammia (Dendrophylliidae) is a group of solitary, apozooxanthellate, single-polyp corals with a widespread distribution in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Populations of H. cochlea were observed with individuals dispersed on open-sand habitat and among patches of Halimeda at 30–40 m water depth in mean densities of 89 and 29 corals per m2, respectively. Fluorescence microscopy was used to assess the presence of zooxanthellae, indicating that they are actively photosynthesising at these depths. These are the first observations of H. cochlea in association with the Halimeda bioherms on the Northern GBR.

Item ID: 79513
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1867-1624
Keywords: Biogeography, Distribution, Halimeda habitat, Zooxanthellae
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2024 00:32
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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