Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Morphological variation and homoplasy: the challenge of Paleozoic coral systematics

  • Gregory E. Webb (a1)

Abstract

The extinct Paleozoic coral groups Rugosa and Tabulata suffer from confused systematics because of extreme morphological variation, pervasive homoplasy, and relatively simple skeletal morphology. Morphological variation occurs within individuals or colonies, between individuals within a population, and between populations. Variation at each level may have both genetic and ecologic components. Homoplasy is very abundant and extended sequences of parallel or convergent character transformations have led to the recognition of “recurrent evolutionary trends” in many lineages.

Morphological variation causes much difficulty in the recognition and characterization of coral species and homoplasy is problematic for phylogeny reconstruction. Improved coral systematics require a more holistic approach to both taxonomy and phylogeny analysis, including: 1) population-based species concepts, as opposed to typological approaches; 2) use of more quantitative techniques in species discrimination and description; 3) more attention to subtle morphological elements, such as microstructure; 4) description of ecological settings (depositional environments) to aid in analysis of behavior and to help unravel ecophenotypic plasticity; and 5) use of stratigraphic and geographic distribution data in phylogeny analysis, because skeletal morphology is inadequate by itself.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Barnes, D. J. 1973. Growth in colonial scleractinians. Bulletin of Marine Science, 23:280298.
Bernard, H. M. 1903. The family Poritidae, I, the genus Goniopora. Catalogue of the Madreporarian Corals in the British Museum (Natural History), 4:1206.
Bernard, H. M. 1905. The family Poritidae, II, The genus Porites, Pt. I. Porites of the Indo-Pacific region. Catalogue of the Madreporarian Corals in the British Museum (Natural History), 5:1303.
Bernard, H. M. 1906. The family Poritidae, II, The genus Porites, Pt. II. Porites of the Atlantic and Wet Indies with the European fossil forms. The genus Goniopora, a supplement to Vol. 4. Catalogue of the Madreporarian Corals in the British Museum (Natural History), 6:1173.
Bondarenko, O. B. 1975. Ob astogeneticheskom metode izucheniya kolonialnykh Kishechnopolostnykh (na primere geliolitedey). Paleontologichski Zhurnal, 1975(2):1727.
Brundin, L. 1972. Evolution, causal biology, and classification. Zoologica Scripta, 1:107120.
Budd, A. F. 1979. Phenotypic plasticity in the reef corals Montastraea annularis (Ellis and Sonlander) and Siderastraea siderea (Ellis and Sonlander). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 39:2554.
Budd, A. F. 1993. Variation within and among morphospecies of Montastraea. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:241254.
Cairns, S. D. 1984. An application of phylogenetic analysis to the Scleractinia: Family Fungiidae. Palaeontographic Americana, 54:4957.
Cairns, S. D. 1989. Discriminant analysis of Indo-West Pacific Flabellum. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:6168.
Coates, A. G., and Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1973. Coloniality in Zoantharian corals, p. 327. In Boardman, R. S., Cheetham, A. H., and Oliver, W. A. Jr. (eds.), Animal Colonies. Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc., Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Cuffey, R. J., and Pachut, J. F. 1991. Clinal morphological variation along a depth gradient in the living scleractinian reef coral Favia pallida: effects on perceived evolutionary tempos in the fossil record. Palaios, 5:580588.
Cuif, J. P. 1977. Caractères et affinités de Gallitella, nouveau genre de Madréporaires du Carnien des Dolomites. Mémoires du Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, 89:256263.
Ezaki, Y. 1993. The last representatives of Rugosa in Abadeh and Julfa, Iran: survival and extinction. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:7580.
Ezaki, Y. and Kato, M. 1989. Growth bands in a Permian coral. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:8390.
Fedorowski, J. 1984. Subjectivity in the evaluation of diagnostic characters and its influence on the taxonomy of the rugose corals. Palaeontographica Americana, 54:8691.
Fedorowski, J. 1987. Upper Palaeozoic rugose corals from southwestern Texas and adjacent areas: Gaptank Formation and Wolfcampian corals. Part 1. Palaeontologia Polonica, 48, 271 p.
Fedorowski, J. 1989. Intraspecific variation in Carboniferous and Permian Rugosa. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:712.
Foster, A. B. 1984. The species concept in fossil hermatypic corals: a statistical approach. Palaeontographica Americana, 54:5869.
Foster, A. B. 1985. Variation within coral colonies and its importance for interpreting fossil species. Journal of Paleontology, 59:13591381.
Gregory, J. W. 1898. A collection of Egyptian fossil Madreporaria. Geological Magazine, Dec. 4, 5:241251.
Harper, C. W. Jr., and Platnick, N. I. 1978. Phylogenetic and cladistic hypotheses: a debate. Systematic Zoology, 27:354362.
Hill, D. 1934. The Lower Carboniferous corals of Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 45:63115.
Hill, D. 1956. Rugosa, p. F233324. In Moore, R. C. (ed.), Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Part F. Coelenterata. Geological Society of America and University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas.
Hill, D. 1981. Coelenterata, Part F, Supplement 1, Rugosa and Tabulata, F1F762. In Teichert, C. (ed.), Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. Geological Society of America and University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas.
Hoeksema, B. W. 1991. Evolution of body size in mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungidae) and its ecomorphological consequences. Netherlands Journal of Zoology, 41:112129.
Hubbard, J. A. E. B., and Pocock, Y. P. 1972. Sediment rejection by scleractinian corals: a key to palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Geologische Rundschau, 61:598626.
Hubbard, J. A. E. B., and Pocock, Y. P. 1984. Scleractinian functional morphology: a key to paleoecological reconstruction. Palaeontographica Americana, 54:523530.
International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. 1961. International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, London, 176 p.
Iljina, T. G. 1977. Development of the septa in rugose corals of the superfamily Polycoeliaceae. Mémoires du Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, 89:7886.
Jeffords, R. M. 1947. Pennsylvanian lophophyllidid corals. University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions, Coelenterata, Article 1, 84 p.
Jeffords, R. M. 1955. Septal arrangement and ontogeny in the porpitid corals. University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions, Coelenterata, Article 2, 16 p.
Kanmera, K. 1964. Triassic coral faunas from the Konosé Group in Kyushu. Memoirs of the Faculty of Science, Kyushu University, Series D, Geology, 15:117147.
Lang, W. D. 1917. Homeomorphy in fossil corals. Proceedings of the Geologist's Association, 28:8594.
Lang, W. D. 1923. Trends in British Carboniferous corals. Proceedings of the Geologist's Association, 34:120136.
Lang, W. D. 1938. Some further considerations on trends in corals. Proceedings of the Geologist's Association, 49:148159.
Lang, W. D., Smith, S., and Thomas, H. D. 1940. Index of Palaeozoic coral genera. British Museum of Natural History, 231 p.
Lee, D.-J., and Noble, J. P. A. 1988. Heliolitid corals of the Upper Silurian West Point formation, Gaspé, Québec. Journal of Paleontology, 62:855865.
Le Tissier, M. D'A. A., and Scrutton, C. T. 1993. A review of density banding in Recent and fossil corals. Courier Forschungsistitut Senckenberg, 164:5561.
Liao, W.-H., and Xia, J.-B. 1993. Mesozoic and early Cenozoic scleractinian corals from Tibet. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:205210.
McLaren, D. J., and Sutherland, P. K. 1949. Lithostrotion from northeast British Columbia an its bearing on the genomorph concept. Journal of Paleontology, 23:625634.
Ma, T. Y. H. 1933. On the seasonal change of growth in some Palaeozoic corals. Proceedings of the Imperial Akademy of Tokyo, 9:407409.
Miller, K. J. 1992. Morphological variation in the scleractinian coral Platygyra daedalea (Ellis and Sonlander, 1786) - genetically or environmentally determined? Proceedings of the Seventh International Coral Reef Symposium, 1:550556.
Neuman, B. E. E. 1988. Some aspects of the life strategies of early Palaeozoic rugose corals. Lethaia, 21:97114.
Neuman, B. E. E. 1993. Taxonomic reliability of morphological structures in rugose corals. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:119125.
Nudds, J. R. 1993. Siphonodendron and Dorlodotia: paedomorphic evolution in Carboniferous rugose corals? Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:127130.
Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1966. Description of dimorphism in Striatopora flexuosa Hall. Palaeontology, 9:448454.
Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1976. Noncystimorph colonial rugose corals of the Onesquethaw and lower Cazenovia Stages (Lower and Middle Devonian) in New York and adjacent areas. United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 869:1156.
Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1980. The relationship of scleractinian corals to the rugose corals. Paleobiology, 6:146160.
Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1989. Intraspecific variation in pre-Carboniferous rugose corals: a subjective review. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:16.
Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1993. Origins and relationships of Devonian Rugosa endemic to the Eastern Americas Realm. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:131140.
Oliver, W. A. Jr. In press a. Evolutionary relationships of the Zaphrentidae and Craspedophyllidae (rugose corals, Devonian) in eastern North America. Geological Society of America Special Paper.
Oliver, W. A. Jr. In press b. Origins and relationships of colonial Heliophyllum in the Middle Devonian (Givetian) of New York. Boletín de la Real Sociedad Espanola de Historia Natural.
Oliver, W. A. Jr., and Sorauf, J. E. 1994. Branching Heliophyllum (Devonian rugose coral) from New York and Ohio. Journal of Paleontology, 68:11831201.
Pandolfi, J. M. 1989a. Developmental sequences in colonial corals: an overview. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:6981.
Pandolfi, J. M. 1989b. Phylogenetic analysis of the early tabulate corals. Palaeontology, 32:745764.
Pandolfi, J. M. and Burke, C. D. 1989a. Environmental distribution of colony growth form in the favositid Pleurodictyum americanum. Lethaia, 22:6984.
Pandolfi, J. M. and Burke, C. D. 1989b. Shape analysis of two sympatric coral species: implications for taxonomy and evolution. Lethaia, 22:183193.
Pedder, A. E. H., and Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1982. Stauromatidium and Stauromatidiidae, new genus and family of Upper Silurian and Lower Devonian rugose corals. Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin, 352, 43 p.
Potts, D. C. 1978. Differentiation in coral populations. Atoll Research Bulletin, 220:5574.
Potts, D. C. 1984. Generation times and the Quaternary evolution of reef-building corals. Paleobiology, 10:4858.
Potts, D. C., Budd, A. F., and Garthwaite, R. L. 1993. Soft tissue vs. skeletal approaches to species recognition and phylogeny reconstruction in corals. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:221231.
Poty, E. 1993. Heterochronic processes in some Lower Carboniferous rugose corals. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:141152.
Saether, O. A. 1983. The canalized evolutionary potential: inconsistencies in phylogenetic reasoning. Systematic Zoology, 32:343359.
Sando, W. J. 1976. Revision of the Carboniferous genus Aulina Smith (Coelenterata, Anthozoa). United States Geological Survey Journal of Research, 4:421435.
Schmidt, H. 1972. Die Nesselkapseln der Anthozoa und ihre Bedeuntung für die phylogenetische systematik. Helgoländer Wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen, 123:422458.
Schmidt, H. 1974. On the evolution of the Anthozoa. Proceedings of the 2nd International Coral Reef Symposium, 1:533560.
Scrutton, C. T. 1989. Intracolonial and intraspecific variation in tabulate corals. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:3343.
Sebens, K. P., and Done, T. J. 1992. Water flow, growth form and distribution of scleractinian corals: Davies Reef (GBR), Australia. Proceedings of the Seventh International Coral Reef Symposium, 1:557568.
Smith, S., and Lang, W. D. 1930. Description of the type specimens of some Carboniferous corals of the genus “Diphyphyllum,” “Stylastraea,” Aulophyllum, and Chaetetes. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 10, 5:177194.
Smith, S., and Thomas, H. D. 1963. On Amplexus coralloides Sowerby and some ampleximorph corals from the English Devonian. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 13, 6:161172.
Sorauf, J. E., and Mackey, S. D. 1989. Variation and biometrics in rugose corals. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:2331.
Sorauf, J. E., and Oliver, W. A. Jr. 1976. Septal carinae and microstructure in Middle Devonian Heliophyllum (Rugosa) from New York State. Journal of Paleontology, 50:331343.
Sorauf, J. E., and Stein, W. E. Jr. 1993. Biological fabric and the study of growth in the Devonian tabulate coral genera Lecfadites and Favosites. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:159168.
Sowerby, J. 1814. The Mineral Conchology of Great Britain, v. 1, pt. 13, 153168. B. Meredith, London.
Spasskiy, N. Y., and Kravtsov, A. G. 1971. Zakonomernosti poyavleniya morfologicheski skhodnykh struktur evolutsii chetyrekhluchevykh korallov. Zapiski Leningradskogo Ordenov Lenina i Trudovogo Krasnogo Znameni Gornogo Instituta im G. V. Plekhsanova, Paleontologiya, 59:522.
Stewart, C.-B. 1993. The powers and pitfalls of parsimony. Nature, 361:603607.
Sutherland, P. K. 1989. Intraspecific variability in the rugose coral Stelechophyllum (?) McLareni from the Lower Carboniferous (Visean) of northeastern British Columbia. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 8:1322.
Thomson, K. S. 1988. Morphogenesis and Evolution. Oxford University Press, New York, 154 p.
Tripp, K. 1933. Die Favositen Gotlands. Palaeontographica A, 79:75142.
Veron, J. E. N. 1995. Corals in Space and Time: Biogeography and Evolution of the Scleractinia. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.
Veron, J. E. N., and Pichon, M. 1976. Scleractinia of eastern Australia, Part 1. Families Thamnasteriidae, Astrocoeniidae and Pocilloporiidae. Australian Institute of Marine Sciences Monograph Series, 1, 86 p.
Webb, G. E. 1984. Columella development in Lophophyllidium n. sp., and its taxonomic implications, Imo formation, Latest Mississippian, northern Arkansas. Palaeontographica Americana, 54:509514.
Webb, G. E. 1990. Lower Carboniferous coral fauna of the Rockhampton Group, east-central Queensland. Memoirs of the Association of Australaisian Palaeontologists, 10:1167.
Webb, G. E. 1993. Phylogeny reconstruction: problems posed by Paleozoic corals. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:7174.
Webb, G. E. 1994. Parallelism, non-biotic data and phylogeny reconstruction in paleobiology. Lethaia, 27:185192.
Webb, G. E., and Sutherland, P. K. 1993. Coral fauna of the Imo Formation, uppermost Chesterian, north-central Arkansas. Journal of Paleontology, 67:179193.
Wells, J. W. 1934. Some fossil corals from the West Indies. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 83:71110.
Wijsman-Best, M. 1974. Habitat-induced modification of reef corals (Faviidae) and its consequence for taxonomy. Proceedings of the 2nd International Coral Reef Symposium, 2:217228.
Willis, B. L. 1985. Phenotypic plasticity versus phenotypic stability in the reef corals Turbinaria mesenterina and Pavona cactus. Proceedings of the Fifth International Coral Reef Congress, 4:107118.
Willis, B. L. 1990. Species concepts in extent scleractinian corals: considerations based on reproductive biology and genotypic population structures. Systematic Botany, 15:136149.
Wilson, E. C. 1963. An evaluation of the genomorph concept in rugose corals. Systematic Zoology, 12:8390.
Wood-Jones, F. 1907. On the growth forms and supposed species in corals. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1907, 518556.
Young, G. A., and Elias, R. J. 1993. Biometry and intraspecific variation in favositids and heliolitid corals. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 164:283291.
Young, G. A., and Noble, J. P. A. 1990. Silurian Heliolitidae (Anthozoa, Tabulata) from the Chaleurs Bay region, Canada. Journal of Paleontology, 64:4460.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Morphological variation and homoplasy: the challenge of Paleozoic coral systematics

  • Gregory E. Webb (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.