The measurement of coral surface area is critical to normalising a suit of physiologically significant parameters to greater understand how corals interact with the surrounding environment. The surface area detection from skeletal fragments subsequently needs to be both as accurate as possible, yet practical and robust enough to be performed with minimal laboratory equipment. By using X-Ray CT technology, as a highly accurate surface area standard, 12 coral specimens from 4 different genera were studied using single wax versus double wax dipping methods. Our results reveal that the single wax dipping is far more accurate than the more commonly practised double wax dipping, thereby leading to more accurate estimation of the physiologically active surface.
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Fig. 3 X-Ray CT image of A. loripes displaying the large number of corallites (light grey) that penetrate several centimetres into the inside of the coral skeleton, leading to an overestimated X-Ray CT–derived surface area Acknowledgments The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance from the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Science, Eilat, Israel. Access to X-Ray CT facilities was made possible thanks to Dr. Ilan Shelef, Head of Neuroradiology Unit, Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Soroka University Medical Centre, Israel. This manuscript has benefited significantly from the anonymous feedback of 2 reviewers. This research was part funded through an Australian Research Council industry linkage with the United States of America, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (to OHG) as well as the 2009 Australian Israeli Scientific Exchange Foundation (to CJV).
- Surface area
- Wax dipping
- X-ray CT