Towards a phylogenetic classification of reef corals: the Indo-Pacific genera Merulina, Goniastrea and Scapophyllia (Scleractinia, Merulinidae)

TitleTowards a phylogenetic classification of reef corals: the Indo-Pacific genera Merulina, Goniastrea and Scapophyllia (Scleractinia, Merulinidae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHuang DW, Benzoni F., Arrigoni R., Baird A.H, Berumen ML, Bouwmeester J, Chou L.M, Fukami H., Licuanan W.Y, Lovell E.R, Meier R., Todd P.A, Budd A.F
JournalZoologica Scripta
Volume43
Pagination531-548
Date Published2014/09
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0300-3256
Accession NumberWOS:000340521500009
Keywordsclassification; cnidaria anthozoa scleractinia; dna-sequences; Faviidae; genus; maximum-likelihood; microstructural analysis; Mitochondrial; mixed models; molecular phylogeny; pocillopora; Taxonomic
Abstract

Recent advances in scleractinian systematics and taxonomy have been achieved through the integration of molecular and morphological data, as well as rigorous analysis using phylogenetic methods. In this study, we continue in our pursuit of a phylogenetic classification by examining the evolutionary relationships between the closely related reef coral genera Merulina, Goniastrea, Paraclavarina and Scapophyllia (Merulinidae). In particular, we address the extreme polyphyly of Favites and Goniastrea that was discovered a decade ago. We sampled 145 specimens belonging to 16 species from a wide geographic range in the Indo-Pacific, focusing especially on type localities, including the Red Sea, western Indian Ocean and central Pacific. Tree reconstructions based on both nuclear and mitochondrial markers reveal a novel lineage composed of three species previously placed in Favites and Goniastrea. Morphological analyses indicate that this clade, Paragoniastrea Huang, Benzoni & Budd, gen. n., has a unique combination of corallite and subcorallite features observable with scanning electron microscopy and thin sections. Molecular and morphological evidence furthermore indicates that the monotypic genus Paraclavarina is nested within Merulina, and the former is therefore synonymised.

DOI10.1111/zsc.12061
Short TitleZool. Scr.
Integrated Research Themes: 
Student Publication: 
No