Methodology: Growth form derived from Veron (2000) textual descriptions

ID: 55


  • Growth form Veron

    Veron (2000) uses approximately 50 different terms or combinations of terms to describe colony morphology. As he states “there are so many different shapes of corals that such descriptive terms can be misleading and carry less meaning that illustrations” Veron 2000 Volume 1 p56. We have grouped these into 11 different growth forms none of which are specific to a given taxa. In contrast, many of the morphological categories in “growth form Wallace” are specific to the Acropora.

    Veron (2000) often gives more than one morphology per species to capture phenotypic plasticity in this trait; however, this is not done consistently. Therefore, just because three growth forms are listed for one species does not necessarily imply that it is more plastic than another species with only two growth forms listed.

    Below we list how we have categories the various terms used by Veron (2000) to describe growth form into the 11 categories used in Coral Traits

    1. encrusting: overlaying the substratum
    2. laminar: thin sheets often forming whorls
    3. massive: solid with similar shape in all direction
    4. submassive: not quite massive
    5. columnar: forming columns
    6. encrusting_with_long_uprights: overlaying the substratum with long branches
    7. branching_closed: branches in clusters or tufts
    8. branching_open: branches of similar length given off at similar angles
    9. tables_or_plates: colony outline in the shape of a table i.e. a top with one central leg or side-attached table
    10. digitate: encrusting with regular short upright branches
      • encrusting_with_short_uprights: overlaying the substratum with short upright branches, ridges or nodules
    11. corymbose: flat topped clumps
    12. hispidose: open-branched except with a second type of branch given off at regular intervals
    For the Genus Montipora
    • Flat tiers = laminar
    • Flat plates = encrusting
    • Irregularly contorted laminae = laminar
    • Tubes = encrusting_with_uprights
    • Irregular upgrowths = encrusting_with_uprights
    • Irregular branch-like upgrowths = encrusting_with_uprights
    • Nodular upgrowths = encrusting_with_uprights
    • Thick plates = encrusting
    • Irregular lobes = laminar
    • Columnar upgrowths = encrusting_with_uprights
    • Irregular clumps = branching_closed
    • Flat = encrusting
    • Hemispherical = massive
    • Contorted nodular columns or branches = encrusting_with_longuprights
    • Vertical plates = laminar
    • Upright laminae = encrusting_with_uprights
    • Upward projecting ridges = encrusting_with_uprights
    • Small irregular plates = encrusting
    • thin plates – encrusting
    • Clumps = branching_closed
    For the genus Acropora
    • Sturdy, large, thick, irregular, buffalo horn, elkhorn = branches_open
    • Plates (group 9 & 10 & 17) = tables
    • horizontal _withupturnedends (group 8) = tables
    • staghorn – group 11 (conspicuous 2nd branches) = branches_open
    • dense thickets of short cylindrical branches; irregular clusters of upright interlinked contorted branches, clumps, bushes, compact clumps (group 13 & 14 & 15 & 16) = branches_closed
    • cushion like, corymbose plates, corymbose clumps = corymbose
    • digitate clumps = digitate
    • large horizontal corymbose plates = tables
    • digitate bushes = branches_closed
    • Plates = laminar
    • Flat = encrusting
    • Hemispherical mounds of branches, irregularly radiating branches, compact clumps= branching_closed
    • Sprawl = branching_closed
    Other taxa
    • Dome shaped = massive
    • Flat plates = encrusting
    • All free living forms classified as massive; attached forms as either massive, encrusting or laminar
    • Branch-like spires; spire-like branches = branching_closed
    • Flat = encrusting
    • Lobed = submassive
    • Small nodules = submassive

Used for traits:

Added by: Andrew Baird

Observations using this methodology

Acanthastrea brevis

Acanthastrea echinata

Acanthastrea hemprichi

Acanthastrea ishigakiensis

Acanthastrea regularis

Acanthastrea rotundoflora

Acanthastrea subechinata

Acropora abrolhosensis

Acropora abrotanoides

Acropora aculeus

Acropora acuminata