Spawning synchrony in scleractinian corals: comment on Mangubhai & Harrison (2008)

Baird, A.H., and Guest , J.R. (2009) Spawning synchrony in scleractinian corals: comment on Mangubhai & Harrison (2008). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 374. pp. 301-304.

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Manghubai & Harrison (2008; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 360:85–96) have documented spawning patterns in an equatorial assemblage of Acropora spp. in Kenya over a 2 yr period. They concluded that reproductive seasons are more protracted at low latitudes and that ‘mass spawning’ does not occur in equatorial regions, due to a breakdown in spawning synchrony among species. However, this interpretation hinges on the authors' distinction of ‘mass spawning’ from “multi-specific spawning” for which they provide no ecological rationale. Moreover, they did not cite recent studies that document numerous species spawning in synchrony in equatorial assemblages. In addition, the authors overlooked work demonstrating that spawning is not as synchronous as typically portrayed on the Great Barrier Reef or in Western Australia. In the context of this literature, reproductive patterns of Acropora spp. in Kenya are more similar to sub-tropical reefs in southern Australia rather than to other equatorial reefs. We conclude that the study of reproductive synchrony in corals is being impeded by the lack of a consistent definition that would make it possible to quantify and compare patterns of synchrony at both population and assemblage scales.

Item ID: 10721
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: reproductive isolation; reef corals; patterns; acropora; mechanisms; australia; islands; coral reefs; reproduction; spawning
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2010 05:32
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050203 Environmental Education and Extension @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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