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Using three-dimensional surface area to compare the growth of two Pocilloporid coral species
Holmes, G.; Ortiz, J.; Kaniewska, P.; Johnstone, R. (2008). Using three-dimensional surface area to compare the growth of two Pocilloporid coral species. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 155(4): 421-427.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Holmes, G.
  • Ortiz, J.
  • Kaniewska, P.
  • Johnstone, R.

    Many facets of coral research require coral colony surface area estimates. This study developed a relationship between the two-dimensional (2D) projected area and the three-dimensional (3D) whole colony surface area for two commonly studied Indo-Pacific coral species: Pocillopora damicornis and Stylophora pistillata. The surface index function was used to measure the growth of colonies in situ around Heron reef on the southern Great Barrier Reef. The results show that while growth between the two species was not significantly different when measured in two dimensions, the 3D area showed significantly different growth rates with S. pistillata growing at almost double the rate of P. damicornis. The study demonstrates that it is possible to make reliable estimates of the 3D surface area of entire colonies of these complex branching coral species, using the plan view of the coral and a pre-determined surface index function. In addition, this study shows that the 3D surface area provides a more useful measure of colony growth than the traditional methods of either 2D area or longest dimension.

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