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Diversity and Age Patterns in Hermatypic Corals

Francis G. Stehli and John W. Wells
Systematic Zoology
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jun., 1971), pp. 115-126
DOI: 10.2307/2412052
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2412052
Page Count: 12
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Diversity and Age Patterns in Hermatypic Corals
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Abstract

Diversity and average generic age distributions for hermatypic corals show that while the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific faunas have evolved at different rates and in some respects have long been isolated systems, many responses to environment are the same. In each ocean, the diversity is highest north of the equator and in the western portion of the ocean. Positive anomalies in mean annual sea surface temperature are closely associated with maximum diversity and with minimum average generic age and a general relationship between both parameters and the area suitable for hermatypic coral growth is also evident. The data suggest that evolution of new genera is proceeding most rapidly in the regions of warmest water, but it is not possible to separate from the temperature relationship the affect of area of favorable bottom which cannot yet be quantified.

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