Grooved brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis, grows in the Caribbean, Bahamas, southern Florida, and Bermuda. This species tends to grow on less solid and loose substrates of the ocean floor. (Jones, 1977; Rossi-Snook, 2011)
Grooved brain coral is in the order Scleractinia, stony corals. The optimum temperature for adult Scleractinia coral is between 25 and 29 degrees Celcius; the absolute minimal temperature is 18 degrees Celcius. Because it has a single-celled symbiotic algae within its cells, grooved brain coral needs to be at depths where light can penetrate the water. As a result, this species has a depth limit of approximately 50 meters. Diploria labyrinthiformis grows throughout the year around Bermuda and in other areas off the Carribean. This coral can live in high areas of sediments. Members of the genus Diploria are found in high abundance on Bermuda's reefs when compared to other corals. This high abundance is due to the fact that genus Diploria has lower juvenile mortality rates than other coral groups. (Cohen, et al., 2004; Logan, et al., 1994; Rossi-Snook, 2011; Smith, 1992)
Diploria labyrinthiformis has very distinct valleys that contain polyps, and deeper grooves beneath the ridges. The valleys are 5-10 mm wide, up to 6 mm deep and u-shaped in a cross section. The ridges are wider than valleys, up to 15 mm, and have a concave profile with edges 2-4 mm higher than the rest of the ridge. Right angles of the plates, or septa, make it look like there are double combs in the valleys. Crests, or costae, of the septa form across the valley walls. Grooved brain coral tends to grow to longer lengths when inhabiting shallow waters. Colonies of D. labyrinthiformis can be one to two meters in diameter. Grooved brain coral can be a variety of colors including tans, yellows, and grays. (Logan, et al., 1994; Rosen and Darrell, 2011; Rossi-Snook, 2011; Spalding, 2004)
Grooved brain coral has a broadcaster mode of development. Diploria labyrinthiformis is fertilized internally and then releases eggs into the ocean. The eggs hatch into swimming planktonic planulae larvae, which settle on an appropriate substrate, where asexual reproduction begins. Secondary polyps are formed, which develop to adult polyps. This species can grow at a rate of 3.5 millimeters per year. (Alvarado, et al., 2003; Rossi-Snook, 2011)
Grooved brain coral is hermaphroditic, with an annual gametogenic cycle with a 10-11 month period for gonad (sex organ) development. The typical spawning season of grooved brain coral is from late May to late June. Spawning likely begins for this species as a result of environmental cues such as high air temperature, low number of solar hours per month, low wind velocity, and initiation of the rainy season. (Alvarado, et al., 2003)
Grooved brain coral has an average of four mature eggs and six spermatic cysts per fertile mesentery. Eggs and spermatic cysts are located towards the aboral (opposite the mouth) part of the mesentery. (Alvarado, et al., 2003)
The lifespan of D. labyrinthiformis is unknown. However, members of the genus Diploria are found in high abundance on Bermuda's reefs when compared to other corals. This high abundance is due to the fact that genus Diploria has lower juvenile mortality rates than other coral groups. (Smith, 1992)
Grooved brain coral is a sessile. The polyp coral will retract it's tentacles in the daytime, and will extend them to feed at night. (Rossi-Snook, 2011)
There has been no research conducted on the communication and perception in D. labyrinthiformis. Many corals capture food with expanded tentacles suggesting a tactile response to the environment. (Rossi-Snook, 2011)
Diploria labyrinthiformis depends primarily on suspension feeding of small marine invertebrates. This coral also has zooxanthellate algae. The symbiotic algae photosynthesize and supply the coral with nutrients and energy for calcification and growth. (Rosen and Darrell, 2011; Rossi-Snook, 2011)
Giant brain coral serves as homes for other organisms. Grazing by Diadema antillarum, the long-spined urchin, may benefit D. labyrinthiformis by reducing macroalgal growths. Zooxanthellate algae live within the cells of D. labyrinthiformis. The single-celled algae receives protection and feeds on coral waste, while the coral receives nutrients and energy from the algae. (Rossi-Snook, 2011)
Grooved brain coral helps to make up the coral reefs that serve as diving attractions.
There are no known negative impacts of this species.
Diploria labyrinthiformis is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.
Brooke Johnson (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Christopher Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Renee Mulcrone (editor), Special Projects.
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
reproduction that is not sexual; that is, reproduction that does not include recombining the genotypes of two parents
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
a form of body symmetry in which the parts of an animal are arranged concentrically around a central oral/aboral axis and more than one imaginary plane through this axis results in halves that are mirror-images of each other. Examples are cnidarians (Phylum Cnidaria, jellyfish, anemones, and corals).
structure produced by the calcium carbonate skeletons of coral polyps (Class Anthozoa). Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow oceans with low nutrient availability. They form the basis for rich communities of other invertebrates, plants, fish, and protists. The polyps live only on the reef surface. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate.
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
breeding is confined to a particular season
non-motile; permanently attached at the base.
Attached to substratum and moving little or not at all. Synapomorphy of the Anthozoa
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
animal constituent of plankton; mainly small crustaceans and fish larvae. (Compare to phytoplankton.)
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