Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Event Name/Location

ASLO/TOS Ocean Research Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 15-20, 2004

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Comprehensive studies of coral reef biodiversity suggest that diversity patterns may be more congruent with geotectonic events than with the reigning paradigms of dispersal, center of origin, and vicariance. Geotectonic processes slowly accumulate taxa in areas exemplified by the presence of composite or lineage-based evolutionary diversity. This process-pattern model can suggest additional areas where similar patterns are likely to occur. Information on types and levels of diversity should be a primary concern in emerging conservation efforts for deepwater coral ecosystems. Current marine conservation efforts in shallow reef systems rely primarily on identifying “hotspots” that reflect measures of species richness and endemicity rather than intrinsic evolutionary relationships. Recent phylogenetic and molecular research from shallow reef systems questions the validity of the hotspot approach. Biodiversity assembly rules for both deep-sea and shallow coral assemblages are likely congruent and thus should exhibit similar diversity patterns. Given logistic and expense concerns in studying deep coral systems, a predictive and testable biodiversity model that suggests areas where composite, lineage-based diversity may be located would help focus and allocate scarce resources.