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Structure of Benthic Communities along the Taiwan Latitudinal Gradient

The distribution and the structure of benthic assemblages vary with latitude. However, few studies have described benthic communities along large latitudinal gradients, and patterns of variation are not fully understood. Taiwan, lying between 21.90°N and 25.30°N, is located at the center of the Philippine-Japan arc and lies at the northern margin of coral reef development. A wide...

An old and massive colony of Pavona decussata is sexually active at high latitude (32°N) in Japan

Although modular organisms like corals are often portrayed as escaping senescence, which is natural in other organisms, there are some evidences of senescence in few coral species (Rinkevich and Loya 1986; Irikawa et al. 2011, and references cited therein). This raises a question whether old coral colonies are sexually active and whether they can reproduce successfully. We report...

Physiological Outperformance at the Morphologically-Transformed Edge of the Cyanobacteriosponge Terpios hoshinota (Suberitidae: Hadromerida) when Confronting Opponent Corals

Terpios hoshinota, an encrusting cyanosponge, is known as a strong substrate competitor of reef-building corals that kills encountered coral by overgrowth. Terpios outbreaks cause significant declines in living coral cover in Indo-Pacific coral reefs, with the damage usually lasting for decades. Recent studies show that there are morphological transformations at a sponge’s growth...

Identification of Scleractinian Coral Recruits Using Fluorescent Censusing and DNA Barcoding Techniques

The identification of coral recruits has been problematic due to a lack of definitive morphological characters being available for higher taxonomic resolution. In this study, we tested whether fluorescent detection of coral recruits used in combinations of different DNA-barcoding markers (cytochrome oxidase I gene [COI], open reading frame [ORF], and nuclear Pax-C intron [PaxC...

The “Naked Coral” Hypothesis Revisited – Evidence for and Against Scleractinian Monophyly

The relationship between Scleractinia and Corallimorpharia, Orders within Anthozoa distinguished by the presence of an aragonite skeleton in the former, is controversial. Although classically considered distinct groups, some phylogenetic analyses have placed the Corallimorpharia within a larger Scleractinia/Corallimorpharia clade, leading to the suggestion that the...

DNA Barcoding of Shark Meats Identify Species Composition and CITES-Listed Species from the Markets in Taiwan

Background An increasing awareness of the vulnerability of sharks to exploitation by shark finning has contributed to a growing concern about an unsustainable shark fishery. Taiwan’s fleet has the 4th largest shark catch in the world, accounting for almost 6% of the global figures. Revealing the diversity of sharks consumed by Taiwanese is important in designing conservation...

Mitochondrial Genome Rearrangements in the Scleractinia/Corallimorpharia Complex: Implications for Coral Phylogeny

Corallimorpharia is a small Order of skeleton-less animals that is closely related to the reef-building corals (Scleractinia) and of fundamental interest in the context of understanding the potential impacts of climate change in the future on coral reefs. The relationship between the nominal Orders Corallimorpharia and Scleractinia is controversial—the former is either the...

Diversity and Distribution of Symbiodinium Associated with Seven Common Coral Species in the Chagos Archipelago, Central Indian Ocean

The Chagos Archipelago designated as a no-take marine protected area in 2010, lying about 500 km south of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, has a high conservation priority, particularly because of its fast recovery from the ocean-wide massive coral mortality following the 1998 coral bleaching event. The aims of this study were to examine Symbiodinium diversity and distribution...

Coverage, Diversity, and Functionality of a High-Latitude Coral Community (Tatsukushi, Shikoku Island, Japan)

Background Seawater temperature is the main factor restricting shallow-water zooxanthellate coral reefs to low latitudes. As temperatures increase, coral species and perhaps reefs may move into higher-latitude waters, increasing the chances of coral reef ecosystems surviving despite global warming. However, there is a growing need to understand the structure of these high...

Molecular Evidence Shows Low Species Diversity of Coral-Associated Hydroids in Acropora Corals

A novel symbiosis between scleractinians and hydroids (Zanclea spp.) was recently discovered using taxonomic approaches for hydroid species identification. In this study, we address the question whether this is a species-specific symbiosis or a cosmopolitan association between Zanclea and its coral hosts. Three molecular markers, including mitochondrial 16S and nuclear 28S...

Recurrent Disturbances and the Degradation of Hard Coral Communities in Taiwan

Recurrent disturbances can have a critical effect on the structure and function of coral reef communities. In this study, long-term changes were examined in the hard coral community at Wanlitung, in southern Taiwan, between 1985 and 2010. In this 26 year interval, the reef has experienced repeated disturbances that include six typhoons and two coral-bleaching events. The...

Mitochondrial and Nuclear Genes Suggest that Stony Corals Are Monophyletic but Most Families of Stony Corals Are Not (Order Scleractinia, Class Anthozoa, Phylum Cnidaria)

Scleractinia, Class Anthozoa, Phylum Cnidaria) Hironobu Fukami Chaolun Allen Chen Ann F. Budd Allen Collins Carden Wallace Yao-Yang Chuang Chienhsun Chen Chang-Feng Dai Kenji Iwao Charles Sheppard Nancy ... Knowlton and Ann Budd (DEB0344310, 0343208), by Academia Sinica Thematic grants (20022004, 20052007) and a Genomics and Proteinomics grant (20062007) to Chaolun Allen Chen, by a Grant-in-Aid for Young