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dc.contributor.advisorWeil, Ernesto F.
dc.contributor.authorRuiz-Torres, Héctor J.
dc.description.abstractThe genus Montastraea in the Caribbean was thought to be formed by two species, M. annularis and M. cavernosa. However, recent research has uncovered two more species in the M. annularis complex, and two different morphologies of M. cavernosa that commonly co-occur were separated based on polyp size and behavior. A small-polyped form mostly active during the day (diurnal ecomorph), and a large-polyped form only active during the night (nocturnal ecomorph). Nevertheless, no specific taxonomic separation has ever been proposed and most recent studies using this species lumped the two ecomorphs. In this work, a multivariate approach was used to explore the ecological, morphological and behavioral differences between the two behavioral ecomorphs of M. cavernosa proposed. Ecological surveys at four different reef localities of Puerto Rico showed that the two behavioral ecomorphs were abundant, but with a differential distribution along the reef profile. Results indicate that 90 % of shallow (6m) M. cavernosa colonies were of the diurnal ecomorph, and 60% of the deeper water (20 m) colonies were of the nocturnal ecomorph. High corallite and colony morphometric variability within each behavioral ecomorph across depth gradients support the idea that environmental factors might influence their morphology. Significant morphological differences in 10 micro-morphological characters analyzed in 60 colonies (30 diurnal and 30 nocturnal) from two reefs (Media Luna and Turrumote), and a Stepwise Canonical Discriminant Function Analysis, which separated two distinct groups (with 94.0% of all colonies correctly classified), suggest that the two behavioral ecomorphs are two separate species (sibling species). Reproductive and molecular analyses are now been conducted to support this hypothesis.en_US
dc.description.abstractEl género Monstastraea en el Caribe estaba formado por dos especies: M. annularis y M. cavernosa. Estudios recientes han descubierto dos especies adicionales en el grupo de M. annularis y dos diferentes morfologías en M. cavernosa que comúnmente co-existen, estas fueron separadas en base al comportamiento y el tamaño del pólipo. El tamaño pequeño del pólipo esta asociado mayormente con la actividad diurna (ecomorfo diurno) y el tamaño grande del pólipo esta asociado mayormente con la actividad nocturna (ecomorfo nocturno). A pesar de esto, nunca se había propuesto una separación taxonómica específica. En este trabajo se utilizó un enfoque multivariado para explorar las diferencias ecológicas, morfológicas y comportamiento entre los dos ecomorfos de M. cavernosa. Estudios ecológicos en cuatro diferentes arrecifes de Puerto Rico evidenciaron que los dos ecomorfos eran abundantes, pero con una distribución marcada entre ambos a través del perfil del arrecife. Los resultados indicaron que un 90% de las colonias de M. cavernosa en aguas llanas (6 m) eran ecomorfos diurnos y un 60% de las colonias en aguas profundas (20 m) eran ecomorfos nocturnos. En la morfometría de los coralitos y las colonias se encontró una gran variabilidad, sustentando la idea que factores ambientales pueden influenciar su morfología. Diferencias significativas en la morfología se encontraron en los 10 caracteres micro-morfológicos analizados en 60 colonias (30 diurnas y 30 nocturnas) de los arrecifes Media Luna y Turromote. El análisis discriminatorio multivariado, el cual separó dos grupos distintos (94% de todas las colonias fueron clasificadas correctamente), sugiere que los dos ecomorfos son especies separadas (especies hermanas). Análisis reproductivos y moleculares están siendo realizados para apoyar esta hipótesis.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipCollege SeaGrant program; National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Ocean Program under award #NA17OP2919 to the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüezen_US
dc.subjectMontastraea cavernosa – Morphology - Reserva Natural de La Parguera (P.R.)en_US
dc.subjectMontastraea cavernosa - Multivariate analysis (ecological, morphological and behavioral) – Biology – Classification - Reserva Natural de La Parguera (P.R.)en_US
dc.subject.lcshMontastraea--Puerto Rico--Morphologyen_US
dc.titleMorphometric examination of corallite and colony variability in the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosaen_US
dc.rights.licenseAll rights reserveden_US
dc.rights.holder(c) 2004 Héctor J. Ruiz Torresen_US
dc.contributor.committeeBallantine, David
dc.contributor.committeeYoshioka, Paul
dc.contributor.committeeAponte, Nilda E.
dc.contributor.representativeRamírez Martínez, Wilson Sciencesen_US
dc.contributor.collegeCollege of Arts and Sciences - Sciencesen_US
dc.contributor.departmentDepartment of Marine Sciencesen_US

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