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|Genetics and morphology of the genus Pocillopora between the Hawaiian Archipelago and surrounding regions|
Marti Puig, P. (2011). Genetics and morphology of the genus Pocillopora between the Hawaiian Archipelago and surrounding regions. MSc Thesis. Ghent University: Gent. 71 pp.
Biology > Genetics
Pocilloporidae Gray, 1840 [WoRMS]
ISE, USA, Hawaii [Marine Regions]
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Accurate determination of coral species is essential for their conservation. Identifying coral species is challenging because they display similar morphologies between species and phenotypic plasticity. The genus Pocillopora is one of the most abundant in the Pacific, and the literature shows contradictory hypotheses about the correlation among the species names and genetics. In this study I examined genetic and morphological variation using different mitochondrial (ORF, CR) and ribosomal markers (ITS2), photographs of whole living corals, and scanning electronic microscope (SEM) photographs of coral skeletons. A total of 6 Pocillopora genetic groups were identified with the mitochondrial marker ORF. Live coral photographs showed high phenotypic variation within 4 genetic groups, indicative of little correspondence between genetics and macro---morphology. However, SEM photographs showed correspondence between genetics and micro---morphology based on the presence/absence of a columella and septa. Therefore, genetics, in combination with micro---morphology, will help define the species boundaries in this genus.