How Corals Coordinate and Organize: An Ecosystemic Analysis Based on Biocommunication and Fractal Properties



Tropical coral reefs harbour some of the most diverse biological communities on our planet and as such rival tropical forests communities in species diversity and number of individuals from all domains. The cooperative interplay of prokaryotes, eukaryotes – particularly – the interactions among plantae and animalia shape this delicate balance, which ultimately culminate in the beauty of the coral reef biome. Some algal species but especially scleractinian corals with their interconnected organizational structure precipitate a calcium-carbonate skeleton that, upon generation after generation, form and shape structures that can even be seen from space. Yet this process is limited by light penetrability – either by depth or by visibility – that provides endosymbiotic algae with the energetic flux to convert light quanta into biochemically available energy. As a result, the sheer dominance of coral species somewhat camouflages the delicate balance between reef builders and bioerosive processes. This intrinsically interwoven biocommunicative dynamics is a key issue in order to comprehend how such structures can evolve and stretch out over 1,000s of km. Neglecting the importance of these processes compromises a full understanding of reef-dynamics and in turn promotes accelerated reef degradation due to improper use of reef resources to those who rely on them. Doing so simply increments reef instability and as such its long-term survival. This article attempts to shed light on the crucial role of biocommunicative processes and how these are manifested across taxa. In fact biocommunication is so essential in assigning each organism a specific role in this network of interdependences that the elegance even within organisms themselves – seen from a biomic perspective –attain self-similar properties. In turn and regardless of the taxa involved, self-similarity in coral reef ecosystems is an underlying feature that relies on intact and efficient biocommunicative pathways.


Coral Reef Coral Species Crustose Coralline Alga Reef Crest Radical Oxygen Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Dr. K. Kleeman, University of Vienna for allowing us to obtain the morphometric data of numerous coral specimens. We also want to thank Dr. K. & W. Loch from the Reef Expedition Maldives 2007 who organized a visit to the Darmstadt Museum housing the Scheer & Pillai coral-collection to complement the allometric census.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and BiophysicsUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.Telos- Philosophische PraxisBuermoosAustria

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