Palaeoclimate ocean conditions shaped the evolution of corals and their skeletons through deep time

Identifying how past environmental conditions shaped the evolution of corals and their skeletal traits provides a framework for predicting their persistence and that of their non-calcifying relatives under impending global warming and ocean acidification. Here we show that ocean geochemistry, particularly aragonite–calcite seas, drives patterns of morphological evolution in anthozoans (corals, sea anemones) by examining skeletal traits in the context of a robust, time-calibrated phylogeny. The lability of skeletal composition among octocorals suggests a greater ability to adapt to changes in ocean chemistry compared with the homogeneity of the aragonitic skeleton of scleractinian corals. Pulses of diversification in anthozoans follow mass extinctions and reef crises, with sea anemones and proteinaceous corals filling empty niches as tropical reef builders went extinct. Changing environmental conditions will likely diminish aragonitic reef-building scleractinians, but the evolutionary history of the Anthozoa suggests other groups will persist and diversify in their wake.

Quattrini A. M., Rodríguez E., Faircloth B. C., Cowman P. F., Brugler M. R., Farfan G. A., Hellberg M. E., Kitahara M. V., Morrison C. L., Paz-García D. A., Reimer J. D. & McFadden C. S., in press. Palaeoclimate ocean conditions shaped the evolution of corals and their skeletons through deep time. Nature Ecology & Evolution. Article (subscription required).

 

0 Responses to “Palaeoclimate ocean conditions shaped the evolution of corals and their skeletons through deep time”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,379,124 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book