When fragmented coral spawn? Effect of size and timing on survivorship and fecundity of fragmentation in Acropora formosa
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In order to determine competency of sexual reproduction and survival rate after fragmentation, the branching coral Acropora formosa was fragmented and fragments in three different sizes (ca. 5, 10 and 20 cm long) and three different stages of gametogenesis were transplanted on coral pavement. Their oocyte development and fecundity, as well as spawning were monitored for a 3-year period. The oocyte development was affected by both fragment size and by the developmental stage of oocytes when fragmented. In small fragments, the oocytes were resorbed while in large fragments they continued development. Oocytes in the early vitellogenic stage at the time of fragmentation were resorbed, whereas those in the late stage continued developing. Smaller fragments showed a lower survival rate and histological observations of their gonads revealed resorption of oocytes, suggesting that there was a trade-off of energy between reproduction and survival. Transplanted fragments often spawned one month earlier than the donor colonies in the first year, but spawning occurred in the same month as the donors or did not occur at all in the second year and none spawned in the third year. The risk of colony death may cause the fragments to re-allocate energy for sexual reproduction.
KeywordsSexual Reproduction Small Fragment Large Fragment Oocyte Development Eosinophilic Granule
We are grateful to K. Shimoike, S. Hosaka and the staff members of Akajima Marine Science Laboratory for their kind help, T. Kokita for assisting statistical analysis.
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