|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2005|
|Authors:||A. W. Simpson, Watling, L., ECKELBARGER, K. J.|
|Journal:||Third International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals, Miami, FL|
Gorgonian-type octocorals are widely distributed in deep-water environments but basic reproductive biology and reproductive processes are not well known in most species. We compared the reproductive morphology of two gorgonian-type octocorals, Paramuricea placomus (Plexauridae) and Metallogorgia melanotrichos (Chrysogorgiidae) and use morphological data to infer sexual reproductive strategy. P. placomus is a member of the Family Plexauridae which includes both deep and shallow-water species. It’s range extends from the eastern to the western North Atlantic (150m -1600m). The material we examined was collected in the Gulf of Maine in June 2002 and August 2003. M. melanotrichos belongs to the exclusively deep-water octocoral family Chrysogorgiidae. This species occurs both in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (183m - 2078m). We collected and examined M. melanotrichos colonies from the New England Seamount Chain in July 2003 and May 2004. Our study shows that both species are gonochoristic, a trait which is common in shallow-water octocorals. Basic reproductive anatomy in P. placomus and M. melanotrichos is typical of anthozoans, with gonads developing along the mesenteries in the basal region of the polyps (Achituv and Benayahu 1990; Tyler et al. 1995). In male colonies of both species, germ cells appear to undergo synchronous development. In female M. melanotrichos colonies oocytes in various stages of development are present in a single polyp.