A comparison between coral colonies of the genus Madracis and simulated forms

Maxim V. Filatov, Jaap A. Kaandorp, Marten Postma, Robert Van Liere, Kris J. Kruszynski, Mark J.A. Vermeij, Geert J. Streekstra, Rolf P.M. Bak

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In addition to experimental studies, computational models provide valuable information about colony development in scleractinian corals. Using our simulation model, we show how environmental factors such as nutrient distribution and light availability affect growth patterns of coral colonies. To compare the simulated coral growth forms with those of real coral colonies, we quantitatively compared our modelling results with coral colonies of the morphologically variable Caribbean coral genus Madracis. Madracis species encompass a relatively large morphological variation in colony morphology and hence represent a suitable genus to compare, for the first time, simulated and real coral growth forms in three dimensions using a quantitative approach. This quantitative analysis of three-dimensional growth forms is based on a number of morphometric parameters (such as branch thickness, branch spacing, etc.). Our results show that simulated coral morphologies share several morphological features with real coral colonies (M. mirabilis, M. decactis, M. formosa and M. carmabi). A significant correlation was found between branch thickness and branch spacing for both real and simulated growth forms. Our present model is able to partly capture the morphological variation in closely related and morphologically variable coral species of the genus Madracis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3555-3561
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1700
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Corals
  • CT scan
  • Madracis
  • Morphogenesis
  • Morphology
  • Simulation


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