Morphological stasis masks ecologically divergent coral species on tropical reefs

Journal:
Current Biology
Published:
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.028
Affiliations:
15
Authors:
20

Research Highlight

Coral diversity may be much greater than previously thought

© Andrey Nekrasov/Getty Images

Whole-genome sequencing of a species of coral found in tropical coral reefs across the Indo-Pacific has revealed it may in fact represent a range of different species that look similar but are genetically distinct.

The reef-building corals that are the foundations of coral reefs are thought to consist of only around 750–850 species based on their shape and structure.

Now, a molecular and genetic analysis by a team led by researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia has found evidence that these corals are far more diverse than their appearance suggests.

The team analysed the genome of serpent coral and discovered that even corals that are structurally similar may be entirely different species. This suggests that the diversity of corals may be much higher than previously thought.

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References

  1. Current Biology 31, 2286–2298 (2021). doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.028
Institutions Authors Share
The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia
6.500000
0.33
Australian National University (ANU), Australia
4.000000
0.20
James Cook University (JCU), Australia
2.833333
0.14
University of the Ryukyus, Japan
2.000000
0.10
California Academy of Sciences, United States of America (USA)
1.333333
0.07
Queensland Museum (QM), Australia
1.000000
0.05
CEU Hungary, Hungary
0.500000
0.03
Bar-Ilan University (BIU), Israel
0.500000
0.03
University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland
0.500000
0.03
University of Konstanz, Germany
0.500000
0.03
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Australia
0.333333
0.02