Mass spawning of Acropora in the coral sea

Baird, A., Marshall, Paul, and Wolstenholme, Jackie (2000) Mass spawning of Acropora in the coral sea. In: Abstracts of the Ninth International Coral Reef Symposium. p. 95. From: World Coral Reefs in the New Millenium: bridging research and management for sustainable development, 23-27 October 2000, Bali, Indonesia. (Unpublished)

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The annual synchronous spawning of numerous species of scleractinian corals is one of the most spectacular of natural phenomena. Comparisons available suggest that mass spawning is restricted to regions with large variations in environmental cycles with a progressive breakdown in seasonality and synchrony of reproduction towards the equator. To test this hypothesis we compared the spawning patterns of Acropora at 4 locations in the Coral Sea with contrasting environmental cycles. In the Solomon Islands (8° 06 S) mature eggs were found in 28 of the 41 Acropora species Sampled. Overall 36 % of colonies (n=403) had mature eggs, 6 % had immature eggs and no eggs were visible in the remaining colonies. At Lizard Island (14 ° 39 S) 15 of 26 species had mature eggs or 62 % of the colonies sampled, while 10% contained immature eggs. On Orpheus Island (18° 40 S) 19 of21 species had mature eggs or 72% of the colonies sampled, and less than 2 % of colonies had immature eggs. In the few widespread species abundant at each of location the proportion of the population fecund declined from Lady Elliot (23 ° 45) towards the equator, suggesting that degree of synchrony may be less and the reproductive season longer. However, the high proportion of colonies without eggs even in locations where the reproductive season is restricted to the mass spawning period suggests that not all colonies spawn every year. Furthermore, the proportion of fecund colonies in some morphologies is consistently low (e.g. arborescent = 35 %), suggesting that many Acropora have more a complicated life history than implied by the paradigm of the mass spawn.

Item ID: 30979
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: corals, spawning, mass spawning, Acropora, latitudinal gradient, scleractians, synchrony, Lizard Island, Solomon Islands, Orpheus Islands, Lady Elliot Islands, Coral Sea
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 00:30
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060808 Invertebrate Biology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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