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    Branching and Self‐Organization in Marine Modular Colonial Organisms: A Model

    Sánchez, Juan Armando and Lasker, Howard R. and Nepomuceno, Erivelton and Sánchez, J. Dario and Woldenberg, Michael J. (2004) Branching and Self‐Organization in Marine Modular Colonial Organisms: A Model. The American Naturalist, 163 (3). E24-E39. ISSN 0003-0147

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    Despite the universality of branching patterns in marine modular colonial organisms, there is neither a clear explanation about the growth of their branching forms nor an understanding of how these organisms conserve their shape during development. This study develops a model of branching and colony growth using parameters and variables related to actual modular structures (e.g., branches) in Caribbean gorgonian corals (Cnidaria). Gorgonians exhibiting treelike networks branch subapically, creating hierarchical mother‐daughter relationships among branches. We modeled both the intrinsic subapical branching along with an ecological‐physiological limit to growth or maximum number of mother branches (k). Shape is preserved by maintaining a constant ratio (c) between the total number of branches and the mother branches. The size frequency distribution of mother branches follows a scaling power law suggesting self‐organized criticality. Differences in branching among species with the same k values are determined by r (branching rate) and c. Species with r≪c had a sigmoid logistic‐like growth with a long asymptotic period before reaching k. Gorgonians exhibit c and r values in the range of the conditions for a stable equilibrium ( c>r/2 or c>r>0 ). Ecological/physiological constraints limit growth without altering colony form or the interaction between r and c. The model described the branching dynamics giving the form to colonies and how colony growth declines over time without altering the branching pattern. This model provides a theoretical basis to study branching as a simple function of the number of branches independently of ordering‐ and bifurcation‐based schemes.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: branching growth; treelike networks; modular organisms; self-organization; gorgonian coral; octocoral; colony development;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Electronic Engineering
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > Hamilton Institute
    Item ID: 16839
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Erivelton Nepomuceno
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2023 15:50
    Journal or Publication Title: The American Naturalist
    Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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