Impacts of bleaching on the soft coral Lobophytum compactum. I. Fecundity, fertilization and offspring viability

Michalek-Wagner, K., and Willis, B.L. (2001) Impacts of bleaching on the soft coral Lobophytum compactum. I. Fecundity, fertilization and offspring viability. Coral Reefs, 19 (3). pp. 231-239.

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We document long-term effects of a simulated bleaching event on the reproductive output and offspring viability of the soft coral Lobophytum compactum. Corals were subjected to temperature and solar radiation treatments to produce both moderately (48–60%) and heavily (90–95%) bleached colonies. Although bleached colonies recovered their zooxanthellae within 10 to 18 weeks, impacts on reproductive output were significant for at least two annual spawning seasons. In the first year, both polyp fecundity and mean oocyte diameter were reduced and inversely correlated with the degree of bleaching, with complete failure of fertilization in the group of heavily bleached colonies. For moderately bleached soft corals, survival and growth of sexual offspring did not differ significantly from those of unbleached colonies. Although no further reductions in zooxanthellae densities in experimental soft corals were recorded throughout the subsequent second year, egg size and fecundity of the heavily bleached soft corals were still significantly reduced 20 months later. Severe bleaching clearly has long-term sub-lethal impacts, reducing overall reproductive output for at least two spawning seasons.

Item ID: 13165
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: bleaching; fecundity; fertilization; reproduction; soft coral
ISSN: 1432-0975
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 03:16
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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