Sexual production of corals for reef restoration in the Anthropocene

Randall, Carly J., Negri, Andrew P., Quigley, Kate M., Foster, Taryn, Ricardo, Gerard F., Webster, Nicole S., Bay, Line K., Harrison, Peter L., Babcock, Russ C., and Heyward, Andrew J. (2020) Sexual production of corals for reef restoration in the Anthropocene. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 635. pp. 203-232.

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Abstract

Coral-reef ecosystems are experiencing frequent and severe disturbance events that are reducing global coral abundance and potentially overwhelming the natural capacity for reefs to recover. While mitigation strategies for climate warming and other anthropogenic disturbances are implemented, coral restoration programmes are being established worldwide as an additional conservation measure to minimise coral loss and enhance coral recovery. Current restoration efforts predominantly rely on asexually produced coral fragments—a process with inherent practical constraints on the genetic diversity conserved and the spatial scale achieved. Because the resilience of coral communities has hitherto relied on regular renewal with natural recruits, the scaling-up of restoration programmes would benefit from greater use of sexually produced corals, which is an approach that is gaining momentum. Here we review the present state of knowledge of scleractinian coral sexual reproduction in the context of reef restoration, with a focus on broadcast-spawning corals. We identify key knowledge gaps and bottlenecks that currently constrain the sexual production of corals and consider the feasibility of using sexually produced corals for scaling-up restoration to the reef- and reef-system scales.

Item ID: 64852
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: Coral reproduction, Sexual reproduction, Coral restoration, Gametogenesis, Embryogenesis, Spawning, Settlement, Climate change
Copyright Information: © The authors and the Australian Institute of Marine Science 2020. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are un restricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.
Funders: Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP)
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 02:41
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 25%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310903 Animal developmental and reproductive biology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310913 Invertebrate biology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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