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The biology and ecology of Hawaiian black corals (cnidaria : anthozoa: hexacorallia: antipatharia)

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Item Summary

Title: The biology and ecology of Hawaiian black corals (cnidaria : anthozoa: hexacorallia: antipatharia)
Authors: Wagner, Daniel
Keywords: Hawaiian black corals
Issue Date: Dec 2011
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2011]
Abstract: Antipatharians, commonly known as black corals, are treasured by many cultures for medicinal purposes and to produce jewelry. Despite their economic and cultural importance, very little is known about the basic biology and ecology of black corals, because most species inhabit deeper-water environments (> 50 m) which are logistically challenging to study. The objectives of this dissertation were to (1) comprehensively review the literature on the biology and ecology of black corals worldwide, (2) provide a taxonomic guide to the shallow-water (<200 m) antipatharian fauna from the Hawaiian Archipelago, and (3) examine sexual reproductive processes within Antipathes griggi, the dominant species targeted by the Hawaiian black coral fishery. The literature review reveals that despite encompassing close to 240 species that are found in diverse environments, there are a number of generalities in the biology and ecology of black corals. Most antipatharian species are found in tropical and subtropical regions below depths of 50 m, on areas with hard substrates, low-light and strong currents. Antipatharians are generally slow-growing and long-lived organisms with longevities ranging from decades to millennia. With the exception of a few predators, antipatharians appear to be little impacted by predation. Like other corals, antipatharians can be habitat engineers of importance to a myriad of associated fish and invertebrates, several of which are adapted to live exclusively on black corals.
A taxonomic guide to the shallow-water (<200 m) antipatharian fauna of the Hawaiian Archipelago was created by examining all available museum specimens from Hawaiian waters, as well as type material from species collected outside of Hawaiʻi.
Based on these examinations eight species are identified from Hawaiʻi including (1) Antipathes griggi Opresko, 2009, (2) Antipathes grandis Verrill, 1928, (3) Stichopathes echinulata Brook, 1889, (4) an undescribed Stichopathes sp., (5) Cirrhipathes cf. anguina Dana, 1846, (6) Aphanipathes verticillata Brook, 1889, (7) Acanthopathes undulata (Van Pesch, 1914), and (8) Myriopathes cf. ulex (Ellis & Solander, 1786).
The sexual reproduction of Antipathes griggi was investigates using histological techniques. The results indicate that A. griggi is likely gonochoric with a 1:1 sex-ratio, and spawns continuously between June and December when temperatures are highest. Although, A. griggi can be found to depths of 100 m, it is rare below the 75 m depth limit at which commercial harvest occurs in Hawaiʻi. Thus, the supposed depth refuge from harvest does not really exist, thereby calling into question population models used for the management of the Hawaiian black coral fishery.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Oceanography

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