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Species and Speciation in the Fossil Record$
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Warren D. Allmon and Margaret M. Yacobucci

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226377445

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226377582.001.0001

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Contrasting Patterns of Speciation in Reef Corals and Their Relationship to Population Connectivity

Contrasting Patterns of Speciation in Reef Corals and Their Relationship to Population Connectivity

Chapter:
(p.217) Chapter Seven Contrasting Patterns of Speciation in Reef Corals and Their Relationship to Population Connectivity
Source:
Species and Speciation in the Fossil Record
Author(s):

Ann F. Budd

John M. Pandolfi

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226377582.003.0008

The “species problem” is long-standing in studies of evolutionary patterns in scleractinian reef corals, in which it is frequently difficult to recognize species, due to high ecophenotypic plasticity, simple morphologies that often overlap among species, and patchy distributions in space and time. Recently, molecular techniques, coupled with lab and field experiments on coral reproduction, have provided new independent data, which have improved understanding of the nature of species boundaries. These new methods have revealed the presence of cryptic species as well as differences in patterns of larval connectivity and population differentiation among species. We examine how recent advances involving cryptic species and population connectivity in modern reef corals contribute to understanding species in the fossil record. Our results reveal significant differences in patterns of morphologic variation among species, which may be related to patterns of population differentiation. The diagnostic morphological characters of species differ among families, and so do patterns of morphological variation within species and overlap among species. The causes of differences appear to be related to reproductive biology and larval dispersal. These results indicate that any general predictions regarding morphologic variation within and among species are complex, and would need to take a number of factors into consideration.

Keywords:   species problem, cryptic species, Orbicella annularis, morphospecies, Montastraea cavernosa, Favia fragum

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