Wave-Like Outward Growth of Some Table- and Plate-Forming Corals, and a Hypothetical Mechanism
Abstract:Wave-like outward growth of the surfaces of concentrically growing plate- and table-forming species of coral have been reported from various sites in the Pacific. This paper reports the same phenomenon in Acropora, Montipora and Merulina at sites on the north west coast of Western Australia and in the plate form of Montipora verrucosa (Lamarck) in Hawaii. Inter-crest distances of the waves are on the order of 10 to 12 cm in table Acropora, and 2 to 5 cm in the other genera, and are hypothesized to represent 1 year's radial growth, This hypothesis is examined indirectly in the Australian species using published linear growth rates from a third location on the western Australian coast and an inverse relationship between growth rate and latitude. It is examined directly in the plate form of M. verrucosa in Hawaii. It is concluded that one cycle of the wave represents 1 year of growth. The wave-like growth form is proposed to be the result of the annual variation in irradiance; more specifically, the decrease in slope of the wave as growth approaches a crest and the negative slope following the crest, are the result of inhibition of upward growth by increasing and high levels of irradiance in the spring and summertime, possibly the UV-B component.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1996
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