A comparison of the population ecology of reef flat corals of the family Faviidae (Goniastrea, Platygyra)

Babcock, Russell Clayton (1986) A comparison of the population ecology of reef flat corals of the family Faviidae (Goniastrea, Platygyra). PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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A comparison of the population ecology of reef flat corals of the family Faviidae (Goniastrea, Platygira). The spatial distribution, abundance and growth rates of Goniastrea aspera, G. favulus and Platygyra sinensis were studied at two fringing reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef region. All three species exhibited similar degrees of spatial aggregation, despite the reproductive behaviour of G. favulus which was the only one of the species to spawn eggs with benthic development. Growth rates and recruitment rates in G. aspera and G. favulus were positively related to abundances at the two sites. Growth rates of both adults and juveniles were also usecj to estimate colony ages. Gametogenic cycles and size specific fecundities were determined for each species at both sites. Goniastrea aspera, G. favulus and P. sinensis were among a large number of species studied which were observed to participate in annual mass spawning events. These mass spawnings are predictable and take place on only a few nights a year, after full moons in October and November. Studies of development subsequent to spawning showed that larvae did not become mobile for at least 36 hours, and the first larvae were capable of settling only after 4 to 5 days. Frequency distributions and rates of mortality based on both size and age were studied in marked quadrats at the two sites. Frequency distributions based on size differed in some respects from those based on age, particularly with respect to the older age classes which decreased in mean size in many populations. Mortality patterns showed greater similarities between the two methods, however differences were again apparent in the older/larger classes since partial mortality to individuals is not accounted for in age based measurements. Finally, life tables were generated for each species. The life history patterns of G. aspera, G. favulus and P. sinensis appear to demonstrate a number of trade-offs that can be made between traits such as egg size, egg number, larval mortality, age at first reproduction, and mean colony age and generation times.

Item ID: 24092
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: corals; distribution; Geoffrey Bay; Goniastrea; growth; life histories; life history; Pioneer Bay; Platygyra; spawning
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Harrison, Peter L., Babcock, Russell C., Bull, Gordon D., Oliver, James K., Wallace, Carden C., and Willis, Bette L. (1984) Mass spawning in tropical reef corals. Science, 223 (4641). pp. 1186-1189.

Babcock, R.C., and Heyward, A.J. (1986) Larval development of certain gamete-spawning scleractinian corals. Coral Reefs, 5 (3). pp. 111-116.

Babcock, R.C., Bull, G.D., Harrison, P.L., Heyward, A.J., Oliver, J.K., Wallace, C.C., and Willis, B.L. (1986) Synchronous spawnings of 105 scleractinian coral species on the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Biology, 90 (3). pp. 79-94.

Babcock, Russell C. (1984) Reproduction and distribution of two species of Goniastrea (Scleractinia) from the Great Barrier Reef Province. Coral Reefs, 2 (4). pp. 187-195.

Heyward, A.J., and Babcock, R.C. (1986) Self- and cross-fertilization in scleractinian corals. Marine Biology, 90 (2). pp. 191-195.

Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2012 06:51
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060308 Life Histories @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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