Sampling event

A survey of pocilloporid corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities in the Austral and Cook Islands of the South Pacific

Latest version published by Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node on 01 June 2024 Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node

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Description

It has recently been uncovered that the model reef coral Pocillopora damicornis is actually a taxonomic complex comprised of multiple species that are difficult to differentiate in situ. However, little is known about the distribution of these species across or within reef ecosystems. To better understand the spatial partitioning between the morphologically-similar sister species P. damicornis and P. acuta, 88 Pocillopora colonies were genotyped across five and three islands/atolls within the Austral and Cook Islands, respectively. A mix of newly described pocilloporid types was found across the two archipelagos, with nearly 33% of the specimens being identified not as the more commonly referenced a genotype of P. damicornis, but instead as P. acuta. Furthermore, P. damicornis was more likely to be found at depths greater than 15 m and in higher coral cover areas relative to P. acuta, suggesting that these closely-related species display distinct habitat preferences.

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 48 records.

2 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)
48
ExtendedMeasurementOrFact 
133
Occurrence 
88

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.

Versions

The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Mayfield A B, Bruckner A W, Chen C and Chen C (2024). A survey of pocilloporid corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities in the Austral and Cook Islands of the South Pacific. Version 1.0. Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. Samplingevent dataset. https://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource?r=pocilloporid_austral_cookis&v=1.0

Rights

Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 8a4f2f34-b89e-49dc-a528-6103caffbab0.  Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Ocean Biodiversity Information System.

Keywords

Samplingevent

Contacts

Anderson B. Mayfield
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Researcher
Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation
20785 Landover
MD
US
Andrew W. Bruckner
  • Originator
Researcher
Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation
20785 Landover
MD
US
Chien-Hsun Chen
  • Originator
Researcher
Taiwan Ocean Research Institute, National Applied Research Laboratories
85243 Kaohsiung
TW
Chii-Shiarng Chen
  • Originator
Researcher
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Checheng
Pingtung
944
TW

Geographic Coverage

Austral Islands (French Polynesia) and Cook Islands

Bounding Coordinates South West [-23.912, -163.188], North East [-17.993, -147.59]

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2013-04-01 / 2013-05-05

Sampling Methods

To determine whether the a genotype of P. damicornis is present across a 2,000-km, unexplored region of the South Pacific Ocean, corals most closely resembling the best described morphologies of P. damicornis (Veron, 2000) were collected at each of 30 reef sites across five islands/atolls of French Polynesia’s Austral Islands and each of 30 reefs from three islands/atolls of the Cook Islands in April and May 2013. In the Austral Islands, Raivavae, Tubuai, Rurutu, Rimatara, and Maria were surveyed over the latter half of April 2013. Herein, only the data from Raivavae, Tubuai, Maria, and, to a lesser extent, Rurutu, are presented; reefs of Rurutu and Rimatara had been devastated by a crown of thorns starfish (COTS) outbreak and so few adult corals were present. Indeed, not a single P. damicornis-like coral was found at Rimatara.

Study Extent Austral Islands (French Polynesia) and Cook Islands

Method step description:

  1. Corals were typically collected on SCUBA from depths between 10 and 20 m by random swimming, and depth and time of coral collection were determined by a diving computer (Suunto D4). After taking a picture with an Olympus TG-2 underwater camera, small (50-100 mg) biopsies were removed from coral colonies with bone-cutting pliers and placed into sterile, pre-labeled Whirl-Pak® (Nasco) bags. When present, typically 1-3 pocilloporid colonies were sampled at each site, and 123 colonies were sampled across 48 of the 60 sites visited over the 3.5 week-long duration of the cruise. When corals with a P. damicornis-like appearance were not found, P. verrucosa Ellis and Solander or P. meandrina Dana specimens were instead collected; briefly, although the major aim of the study was to sample only colonies resembling P. damicornis, other pocilloporid corals were collected to serve as out-groups in the phylogenetic analyses and to determine whether intra-generic differences in Symbiodinium assemblages could be documented.
  2. Immediately upon returning to the small craft vessel after a dive, coral biopsies were minced with bone-cutting pliers or tweezers, immersed in RNALater® (Life Technologies), and stored at -20 or 4°C for several hours. Upon return to the M.Y. Golden Shadow, samples were homogenized in RNALater with mortars and pestles as in Mayfield et al. (2013b). Homogenized tissues + skeleton in RNALater were frozen in an -80°C freezer onboard the ship for several weeks. Then, they were transferred to a -150°C liquid nitrogen dry shipper (Doble 20 model, Chart Biomedical), exported under CITES permit FR1398700102-E (to ABM), and transferred on a commercial airline to a -80°C freezer at Taiwan’s National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA), where extractions were later performed.

Collection Data

Collection Name National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA)
Specimen preservation methods Deep frozen

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Mayfield, A.B., Bruckner, A.W., Chen, C. and Chen, C., 2015. A survey of pocilloporid corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities in the Austral and Cook Islands of the South Pacific. Platax, 12, pp.1-17.

Additional Metadata

marine, harvested by iOBIS