MSc: Klaus Feussner - Institute of Applied Science
Researcher: Mr. Klaus Feussner
Thesis Title: A survey of the biodiversity of the benthic marine genus Sarcophyton of collections made in Fiji waters between 2001 and 2005.
Principal Supervisor: Dr. P. Alderslade
For this study a total of 34 specimens of the soft coral genus Sarcophyton have been collected and identified by their morphological characters (colony form and sclerite shape). Five species believed to be previously undescribed have been identified. For the first time in the Sarcophyton-related literature it is documented here that there are species that do not have sclerites in the interior of the disc. Furthermore, DNA fingerprinting was performed, targeting a 735 base-pair fragment on the mitochondrial protein-coding gene msh1 to construct a tree of phylogenetic relationships within the genus. Based on this information, a new subclade each for the species Sarcophyton glaucum and Sarcophyton crassum is proposed.