Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover new family of Atlantic corals, upset prior coral classifications

26.02.2004


Provides new look at conservation of threatened coral species



An international research team has identified a family of corals found only in the Atlantic Ocean-a first for such classifications in that ocean-in a study that could transform how corals are viewed and classified. The scientists, who will publish their results in the Feb. 26 issue of the journal Nature, say the findings are also important for future decisions about coral conservation and the preservation of threatened biodiversity regions.

Led by Nancy Knowlton of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego, the study revealed significant flaws in the widely accepted taxonomy of Pacific and Atlantic corals. The team, which included researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, used DNA analysis to uncover a significant and previously undetected divergence between Pacific and Atlantic corals. Unexpectedly, the researchers found that about one-third of Atlantic corals, which had been conventionally classified in two distinct families found around the tropics, are in fact very closely related. But, the report says, the Atlantic corals are very different from Pacific corals assumed to be their close relatives. The two corals are so distinct, the scientists suggest the Atlantic variety constitutes its own family, making them the first such grouping unique to the Atlantic Ocean.


"If genetic sequencing of two families of corals can produce a major revision in our understanding," said H. Richard Lane, director of the National Science Foundation’s geology and paleontology program, which funded the research, "one can only imagine what kinds of changes will happen once sequencing is accomplished across the entire spectrum of the biotic world." NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

The DNA results contradict accepted classifications based on the evolutionary form and structure, or morphology, of corals. Calculating when the Atlantic lineage originated is difficult, the scientists say, because the results now call into question the identity of many fossilized corals. The best records indicate that the dominant Atlantic and Pacific lineages probably separated more than 34 million years ago. Indeed, the team’s further analysis of corals from the Caribbean, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan and Palau found entire lineages misclassified.

While the results carry implications beyond the upheaval and realignment of coral classification systems, the study also suggests current Atlantic coral conservation efforts should be reconsidered.

"Corals are important organisms because of the reefs they build, which support the most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. But these new results are not simply that the coral taxonomy is completely wrong," said Knowlton, director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps. "These results require us to think about conservation priorities in a really different way."

Conservation priorities have been heavily focused on the Pacific Ocean because more coral species live there. Biodiversity "hot- spot" analyses, however, have ignored deeper-level diversity because Atlantic corals were assumed not to be particularly distinctive, say the scientists.


The Smithsonian Institution, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisas also funded the research.

Cheryl Dybas | NSF
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov
http://www.nsf.gov/home/news.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>