Tube-dwelling coral symbionts induce significant morphological change in Montipora
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Several groups of tube-dwelling coral symbionts induce the formation of long, finger-like branches (“fingers”) on Montipora corals in the lagoons of Moorea, French Polynesia. We surveyed the prevalence and taxonomic diversity of these symbionts across the northern lagoons of Moorea, and documented the length and density of the finger structures on coral colonies. We found that the symbionts, which include gammarid amphipods and chaetopterid polychaete worms that were not previously known to associate with scleractinian corals, dramatically alter coral skeletal morphology, and may alter coral biology and reef ecology.
KeywordsMontipora gammarid amphipod chaetopterid polychaete vermetid snail coral morphology
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