Bamboo corals are a family (Isididae Lamouroux, 1812) of cnidarian anthozoans in the subclass Octocorallia. They are distinct and easily recognizable because of their unique articulating skeleton, which alternates internodes of calcium carbonate with proteinaceous sclerite (microscopic skeletal elements)-free nodes, and which is currently the primary synapomorphy for the family. Isididae is further divided into four subfamilies (Circinisidinae, Isidinae, Keratoisidinae, Mopseinae) based on several characters, including sclerite shape, size, and placement, and skeleton morphology. The deep-sea bamboo corals are classified in the most morphologically diverse subfamily, Keratoisidinae Gray, 1970. Currently, there are eight genera within the subfamily, and they are primarily distinguished based on branching pattern. Members of the subfamily are found worldwide and at depths greater than 200 m. I use genetic data to evaluate the monophyly of the Isididae, the relationships of the subfamilies to each other and other octocorals, and the monophyly of the genera within the Keratoisidinae. One genus, Acanella, is a genetically monophyletic group with a distinct polyp morphology with needle-like sclerites running obliquely up the polyp body. Additionally, I propose an evaluation of the taxonomic ranks of the bamboo corals at the family, subfamily, genus, and species levels based on morphological characters, mitochondrial genome arrangement, and mtMutS haplotypes. Re-description and classification is needed at every taxonomic level to fully describe and capture the morphological and genetic diversity observed.
|Advisor:||France, Scott C.|
|Commitee:||Leberg, Paul, Wang, Yi-Hong, Watling, Leslie E., Watson, Glen|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Acanella, Bamboo coral, Deep-sea, Isididae, Keratoisidinae, Mitochondrial genome|
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