Reproductive biology and larval development of the temperate soft coral Dendronephthya gigantea (Alcyonacea: Nephtheidae)
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Dendronephthya gigantea (Verrill, 1864), the dominant species in the waters surrounding Jeju Island, Korea, is a gonochoric internal brooder that releases its planulae from July to September. The ratio of females to males in this azooxanthellate soft coral is 2:1. Oogenesis takes place for 12 months and spermatogenesis for 3–5 months. Gametes mature as seawater temperatures increase, suggesting a seasonal factor in the reproductive cycle. Planulae brooded in the gastrodermal canal were expelled around the times of the full moon and the new moon; a significant difference in numbers expelled was not found between day and night. Ciliated planulae had negative buoyancy after planulation, and showed rapid metamorphosis into a primary polyp stage within 2 days.
KeywordsSeawater Temperature Soft Coral Mature Oocyte Full Moon Vitellogenic Oocyte
This research was supported mainly by the Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean Government (MOEHRD) (KRF-2003-C00062) and partially by the grant Ecotechnopia 21(052-021-007) from the Korea Ministry of Environment. We would like to gratefully thank M Involti for his help in the experiment. We also acknowledge SM Song for her valuable aid in statistical analysis and IY Cho for her assistance in the histological work.
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