Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unraveling the mysteries of the Red Sea: A new reef coral species from Saudi Arabia

Date:
August 18, 2014
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
A new hard coral species Pachyseris inattesa is described from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Although the Red Sea is famous as an important region of marine biodiversity it has remained deeply understudied and we are still to discover its innermost secrets.

These are colonies of the new hard coral species Pachyseris inattesa from the Arabian Red Sea in situ.
Credit: Dr. Francesca Benzoni

The hard corals primarily responsible for the construction of coral reefs around the world have attracted the attention of taxonomists for hundreds of years. Despite the important role such corals play in building what are arguably the world's most diverse ecosystems, coral reefs in some parts of the world still hold surprises for modern scientists.

An international team of scientists has recently described a new hard coral species, Pachyseris inattesa, from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea. The study, led by the University of Milano-Biccocain collaboration with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), highlights the opportunities for scientific discovery in a region that has historically been difficult to access.

Corals in the genus Pachyseris are reef dwellers often referred to as "elephant skin corals" or "corduroy corals" due to their wrinkled appearance. Tullia I Terraneo, the lead author of the paper, explains that the name for the new species was chosen because of the reaction she and Francesca Benzoni, the co-author who collected the species, had when examining a specimen closely. "We were looking at the SEM [scanning electron microscope] images, and realized that we had something completely unexpected." The word 'inattesa' translates from Italian as 'unforeseen'.

The coral indeed has a superficial resemblance with some common and widespread coral species of the genus Leptoseris and this led others in the past to misidentify it. "After detailed micromorphological and molecular analyses, we can confirm that this is a unique and novel lineage," Terraneo says. The new species was recorded from different reef habitats along the coast of Saudi Arabia, between 10m-35m depth and to date its distribution seems to be limited to the Red Sea region.

The finding is the latest outcome from the "Biodiversity in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea" project organized by Michael Berumen, co-author of the study and PI of the Reef Ecology Lab at KAUST. This project was initiated in 2012 and has brought numerous scientists and taxonomic experts to the Red Sea from around world, with the overall aim to increase our understanding of the biological diversity present in Saudi Arabian coral reefs. Although the Red Sea played a pivotal role in the early history of scientific works on coral reefs, the region has been understudied in more recent times.

The discovery of Pachyseris inattesa highlights that our knowledge regarding the Red Sea is still far from complete, and that our understanding of hard coral diversity globally is likewise not perfect.

"As far as we can tell, this species is endemic to the Red Sea," Terraneo said. "Although our current sampling has only identified it in Saudi Arabia, I suspect that further research in other Red Sea countries would reveal a broader range."

In any case, continued discovery of new species in the Red Sea has been steadily increasing the known endemism of the region. "Findings such as those presented in this paper continue to highlight how special the Red Sea is and provide even more reasons to make sure that conservation efforts in the region preserve these natural treasures, including those that we have yet to discover," said Berumen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tullia Isotta Terraneo, Michael L. Berumen, Roberto Arrigoni, Zarinah Waheed, Jessica Bouwmeester, Annalisa Caragnano, Fabrizio Stefani, Francesca Benzoni. Pachyseris inattesa sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia): a new reef coral species from the Red Sea and its phylogenetic relationships. ZooKeys, 2014; 433: 1 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.433.8036

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Unraveling the mysteries of the Red Sea: A new reef coral species from Saudi Arabia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140818095029.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2014, August 18). Unraveling the mysteries of the Red Sea: A new reef coral species from Saudi Arabia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140818095029.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Unraveling the mysteries of the Red Sea: A new reef coral species from Saudi Arabia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140818095029.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins