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Free Content Coral isomone: a proposed chemical signal controlling intraclonal growth patterns in a branching coral

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A chemical signal (semiochemical) system which regulates the growth pattern is proposed to be the decisive factor for colony configuration in some reef corals. Field observations and experiments indicate that when intracolonial branches of the hermatypic coral Stylophora pistillata grow towards the others, a buffer zone in the immediate vicinity of each branch is formed, and as a result a decrease in calcification rates of the internal branches or a change in growth direction (retreat growth) are produced. These results strongly indicate the possible appearance of a new type of chemical signal(s) carrying biological activities: This chemical agent is emitted by tissue cells, secreted outside into the water, and then controls the growth pattern (a physiological process) in other parts of the same individual. The term "isomone" is proposed for this newly indicated chemical-communication. In others, such as the hydrocoral Millepora dichotoma, no buffer zone is formed and a natural fusion between branches of the same colony is recorded.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1985

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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