Spatial variation in coral recruitment around Lizard Island, Australia

Baird, A.H., and Hughes, T.P. (1997) Spatial variation in coral recruitment around Lizard Island, Australia. In: Proceedings of the International Coral Reef Symposium (2) pp. 1207-1210. From: 8th International Coral Reef Symposium, June 24-29 1996, Panama.

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Spatial variation in recruitment is characteristic of marine organisms with planktonic larvae and is generally apparent at all spatial scales. In this study spatial variation in the abundance and taxonomic composition of coral recruits was examined, using settlement panels, at a number of scales between depth zones on the fringing reef surrounding Lizard Island. Within the reef crest, variations in abundance between sites were small compared to within site variation. In all taxa the scale of patchiness in recruitment was finer than the site. However, the pattern was strikingly different for recruits from the families Acroporidae and Pocilloporidae, which suggests that different processes operating at different scales are influencing recruitment in these taxa. The abundance of recruits varied significantly between depth zones, with a pronounced reduction in recruitment of all taxa on the reef slope (4m). The abundance of recruits on more exposed surfaces of the settlement panels did not increase with depth. Depth zonation of the recruit assemblage suggests that coral larvae have either the ability to regulate their position within the water column or recognise depth specific substratum characteristics. In contrast, the taxonomic composition of the recruits did not vary between sites within the reef crest despite marked differences in the adult assemblages. These patterns suggest that patterns established at the time of settlement contribute to the depth zonation of adult assemblages and that the importance of post-settlement processes varies between zones.

Item ID: 15559
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-935868-90-6
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Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2012 04:18
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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