ArticlePDF Available
Mushroom coral regeneration from a detached stalk
Received: 26 January 2009 / Accepted: 25 March 2009 / Published online: 18 April 2009
ÓSpringer-Verlag 2009
Following settlement, attachment, and metamorphosis of the
planula larva, fungiid corals develop by forming an elon-
gated calcareous stalk (covered by tissue) on which the polyp
‘‘cap’’ grows. This ‘‘cap’’ then grows radially producing a
polyp with a mushroom-like appearance (Hoeksema 1989).
Radial growth of the polyp ‘‘cap’’ continues until it detaches
from the stalk and becomes a free living solitary polyp
(Boschma 1922). Previous studies show that this detachment
occurs through the active dissolution of the skeleton across a
distinct plane by the calicoblastic cells of the polyp
(Yamashiro and Yamazato 1987,1996). Following detach-
ment in the field, the calcareous stalk remains attached to the
substrate, and regenerates one or more polyp ‘‘caps’’. This
process can repeat itself one or more times (Hoeksema
1989).
We present evidence of a spontaneous release from the
substrate of the whole polyp (stalk and cap) of a Fungia
granulosa coral cultured in the laboratory. Following this
release (Fig. 1a, b), the ‘‘cap’’ detaches from its stalk
(Fig. 1c). A full regeneration of the ‘‘disc-shaped’’ free stalk
into another free living mushroom-shaped polyp occurs
(Fig. 1d, e). Due to its short height (approximately 1 mm),
the regenerated stalk ‘‘stump’’ looks like a normal free
living young polyp (Fig. 1e). This phenomenon is especially
useful for studying the spontaneous decalcification mecha-
nisms that occur during the detachment process as a model for mechanisms that occur during polyp and colony
growth, and processes of asexual reproduction, such as polyp expulsion (Kramarsky-Winter et al. 1997).
Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Varda Wexler (Tel Aviv University) for her graphic assistance and Amikam
Shoob (Tel Aviv University) for the photography. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) to YL.
References
Boschma H (1922) On budding and coalescence of buds in Fungia fungites and Fungia actiniformis. Proceedings Koninklijke
Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam 24: 257–268
Hoeksema BW (1989) Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae). Zoologische
Verhandelingen (Leiden) 254:1–295
Kramarsky-Winter E, Fine M, Loya Y (1997) Coral polyp expulsion. Nature 387:137
Yamashiro H, Yamazato K (1987) Studies on the detachment of the discs of the mushroom coral Fungia fungites with special
reference to hard structural changes. Galaxea 6:283–294
Yamashiro H, Yamazato K (1996) Morphological studies of the soft tissues involved in skeletal dissolution in the coral Fungia
fungites. Coral Reefs 15:177–180
M. Vizel (&)E. Kramarsky-Winter Y. Loya
Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
e-mail: vizelmay@post.tau.ac.il
Fig. 1 Stalk regeneration from a free living fungiid coral,
Fungia granulosa.aA 1-year-old polyp cultured in the lab.
bAn aboral view of ‘a’, notice the stalk ‘‘stump’’ in the
center of the polyp. cDetached stalk, an aboral view.
dDetached stalk, an oral view. Notice the appearance of
mouth, septae, and tentacles. eFully extended tissue of a
regenerated stalk. Note the ‘daughter’ polyp appears more
bleached than the ‘parent’ due to fewer zooxanthellae
(shown in a) (scale ¼2.5 mm)
123
Coral Reefs (2009) 28:939
DOI 10.1007/s00338-009-0496-6
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Light and transmission electron microscopy were used to study mechanisms involved in the separation of the disc from the stalk in juvenileFungia fungites (Scleractinia, Fungiidae). Separation occurs because the skeleton is weakened by dissolution across a distinct plane at the junction of the stalk and disc. The tissue layer adjacent to the skeleton in the stalk was composed of typical, squamose, calicoblastic cells. In contrast, calicoblastic cells in the region of skeletal dissolution were tall and columnar. They contained many microvilli, abundant mitochondria and several different types of vesicles. It is assumed that these calicoblastic cells are actively involved in skeletal dissolution.
Morphological studies of the soft tissues involved in skeletal dissolution in the coral Fungia fungites Israel e-mail: vizelmay@post.tau.ac.il Fig. 1 Stalk regeneration from a free living fungiid coral, Fungia granulosa
  • H Yamazato
  • Á E Kramarsky-Winter
H, Yamazato K (1996) Morphological studies of the soft tissues involved in skeletal dissolution in the coral Fungia fungites. Coral Reefs 15:177–180 M. Vizel (&) Á E. Kramarsky-Winter Á Y. Loya Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel e-mail: vizelmay@post.tau.ac.il Fig. 1 Stalk regeneration from a free living fungiid coral, Fungia granulosa. a A 1-year-old polyp cultured in the lab.
On budding and coalescence of buds in Fungia fungites and Fungia actiniformis Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) Coral polyp expulsion
  • Boschma
Boschma H (1922) On budding and coalescence of buds in Fungia fungites and Fungia actiniformis. Proceedings Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam 24: 257–268 Hoeksema BW (1989) Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae). Zoologische Verhandelingen (Leiden) 254:1–295 Kramarsky-Winter E, Fine M, Loya Y (1997) Coral polyp expulsion. Nature 387:137
On budding and coalescence of buds in Fungia fungites and Fungia actiniformis
  • H Boschma
Boschma H (1922) On budding and coalescence of buds in Fungia fungites and Fungia actiniformis. Proceedings Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam 24: 257-268
Studies on the detachment of the discs of the mushroom coral Fungia fungites with special reference to hard structural changes
  • H Yamashiro
  • K Yamazato
Yamashiro H, Yamazato K (1987) Studies on the detachment of the discs of the mushroom coral Fungia fungites with special reference to hard structural changes. Galaxea 6:283-294
  • B W Hoeksema
Hoeksema BW (1989) Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae). Zoologische Verhandelingen (Leiden) 254:1-295