Allometric growth in reef-building corals
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Predicting demographic rates is a critical part of forecasting the future of ecosystems under global change. Here, we test if growth rates can be predicted from morphological traits for a highly diverse group of colonial symbiotic organisms: scleractinian corals. We ask whether growth is isometric or allometric among corals, and whether most variation in coral growth rates occurs at the level of the species or morphological group. We estimate growth as change in planar area for 11 species, across five morphological groups and over 5 years. We show that coral growth rates are best predicted from colony size and morphology rather than species. Coral size follows a power scaling law with a constant exponent of 0.91. Despite being colonial organisms, corals have consistent allometric scaling in growth. This consistency simplifies the task of projecting community responses to disturbance and climate change.
Dornelas , M , Madin , J S , Baird , A H & Connolly , S R 2017 , ' Allometric growth in reef-building corals ' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , vol. 284 , no. 1851 , 20170053 . DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0053
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
© 2017, the Author(s). This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org / https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.0053
DescriptionFunding: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the Australian Research Council for fellowship and research support; Scottish Funding Council (MASTS, grant reference HR09011) and the ERC project bioTIME.
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