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Growth characteristics in co-occurring Upper Ordovician species of the tabulate Catenipora from southern Manitoba, Canada





Boo-Young Bae [ ], Seoul National Science Museum, Seoul 110-360, Korea; Robert J. Elias [ ], Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada; Dong-Jin Lee [ ], Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Andong National University, Andong 760-749, Korea; manuscript received on 08/03/12; manuscript accepted on 30/05/12.


Four species of the tabulate coral Catenipora are present in the Selkirk Member of the Red River Formation at Garson, Manitoba. They provide an opportunity to compare the growth characteristics of multiple, co-occurring species that produced cateniform coralla. Corallite increase, cyclomorphism and other growth features show high variability within and/or among the species. A total of five types of lateral increase and two types of axial increase are recognized. Lateral increase accounts for over 80% of all occurrences of corallite increase in each species, with the four species differing significantly in the relative frequency of the various types of lateral increase. The type of axial increase, megacorallites and agglutinated patches of corallites that developed from normal, undamaged corallites in C. foerstei are species specific. In all species, cyclic fluctuations in the tabularial area of corallites are considered to be annual, and the variable growth rates within colonies and species are attributed to differences in astogenetic stages or environmental conditions. Average annual vertical growth was positively correlated with average tabularial area in C. foerstei, C. cf. robusta and C. rubra. Catenipora cf. agglomeratiformis, however, which had the lowest average tabularial area and greatest sensitivity to sediment influx, had a high average growth rate comparable to that of C. rubra, which had the largest average tabularial area. The formation of ranks or lacunae by certain types of lateral increase seems to have been the most effective strategy for maintaining and/or expanding the colony growth surface in all four species, and was most common in C. cf. agglomeratiformis. A reptant growth pattern, characterized by creeping ranks, permitted effective recovery of damaged parts as well as quick formation of new ranks or lacunae. The growth surface of these species was situated near the sediment–water interface. □Growth characteristics, intraspecific variation, interspecific variation, palaeobiology, tabulate corals.