Synchronous reproduction of corals in the Red Sea

Hanafy, M.H., Aamer, M.A., Habib, M., Rouphael, Anthony B., and Baird, Andrew H. (2010) Synchronous reproduction of corals in the Red Sea. Coral Reefs, 29 (1). pp. 119-124.

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Multi-species synchronous spawning was first described on reefs off the east and west coast of Australia. In contrast, locally abundant species in the northern Red Sea and the central Pacific have little overlap in the time of reproduction. Consequently, the idea developed that spawning synchrony both within and among species was largely confined to Australian reefs. Here, we show that gamete maturity in colonies of the genus Acropora was highly synchronous in the Red Sea. In early April 2008, at two location separated by 300 km, 13 of 24 species sampled had mature colonies and a further 9 species had immature colonies. In late April - early May 2008, all colonies sampled had no oocytes, indicating colonies had spawned a few days after the full moon of 20 April 2008. Similarly, in 2009, 99% of colonies from 17 species at Hurghada were mature in late April and all were empty in early May. Spawn slicks suggested many of these colonies had released gametes three night prior to the full moon on 8 May 2009. This level of synchrony in gamete maturity is amongst the highest ever recorded and similar to that typically recorded in Acropora assemblages on Australian reefs. While further work is required to document the night of gamete release, these data strongly suggest that high levels of spawning synchrony are a regular feature of these Red Sea coral assemblages and that multi-species spawning occurs on or around the full moon in April and/or May.

Item ID: 10714
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: coral reefs; reproduction; spawning synchrony
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2010 04:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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