Sediment characteristics influence the fertilisation success of the corals Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora

Ricardo, Gerard F., Jones, Ross J., Clode, Peta L., Humanes, Adriana, Giofre, Natalie, and Negri, Andrew P. (2018) Sediment characteristics influence the fertilisation success of the corals Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 135. pp. 941-953.

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Elevated suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) often impact coral fertilisation success, but sediment composition can influence effect thresholds, which is problematic for accurately predicting risk. Here, we derived concentration–response thresholds and cause-effect pathways for SSCs comprising a range of realistic mineral and organic compositions on coral fertilisation success. Effect concentration thresholds (EC10: 10% fertilisation inhibition) varied markedly, with fertilisation highly sensitive to inshore organic-clay rich sediments and bentonite clay at <5 mg L−1. Mineral clays and organic matter within these sediments likely promoted flocculation of the coral sperm, which in turn reduced fertilisation. In contrast, sediments lacking these properties bound less sperm, leading to higher SSC thresholds for coral fertilisation (EC10 > 40 mg L−1). The effect thresholds for relevant sediment types were combined with in situ turbidity data from locations near dredging operations to assess the risks posed by dredging to coral fertilisation at these locations.

Item ID: 58687
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Coral fertilisation, Flocculation, Risk assessment, Suspended sediments
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Funders: Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI), Chevron Australia, Woodside Energy, BHP Billiton, National Environmental Science Program
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2019 23:25
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
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