Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1855–1862 | Cite as

Euendolithic Conchocelis stage (Bangiales, Rhodophyta) in the skeletons of live stylasterid reef corals

  • Aline TribolletEmail author
  • Daniela Pica
  • Stefania Puce
  • Gudrun Radtke
  • Susan E. Campbell
  • Stjepko Golubic
Original Paper


Stylasterids are azooxanthellate lace corals, which may show an unusual colouration in coral reef ecosystems, ranging from red to purple on the light-exposed side of their colonies. In the present study, it was discovered that the calcareous skeletons of such corals are actually invaded and eroded by cryptic carbonate boring algae that represent Conchocelis phases in the life cycle of bangialean rhodophytes. For the first time, the shape, organisation and distribution of Conchocelis filaments within the skeletons of two different genera of lace corals are reported and documented by light and electron microscopy. Such description and characterisation of Conchocelis can help to distinguish between morphologically and taxonomically different endolithic microorganisms penetrating coral skeletons, including their recognition in fossil borings as indicators of depositional depth, i.e. of the extent of the photic zone and light conditions in ancient marine environments. The results are discussed in the light of a possible symbiotic or parasitic relationship between Conchocelis phases and their stylasterid host corals.


Coral reefs Coral skeleton Cryptic development Fossil record Microborers 



We thank Sandrine Caquineau for her assistance with the SEM on the platform Alysés at the Center IRD France-Nord (Bondy) and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement for financial support. International collaborations were supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, and Hanse Institute for Advanced Studies, Delmenhorst, Germany to S. Golubic. We also thank the Coral Eye Research Center for the logistic support in Indonesia. Specimens were imported by CITES permit code 04291/IV/SATS-LN/2011. We thank the editor Dr. Bert Hoeksema and the two anonymous reviewers for their positive and constructive comments and improvements of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IRD-Sorbonne Universités (Univ. Paris 6) UPMC-CNRS-MNHN, Laboratoire IPSL-LOCEANParis CedexFrance
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’AmbienteUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly
  3. 3.Hessisches Landesamt für Naturschutz, Umwelt und Geologie (HLNUG)WiesbadenGermany
  4. 4.Biological Science CenterBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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