Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 7, pp 1601–1617 | Cite as

Reef coral reproduction in the eastern Pacific: Costa Rica, Panamá, and the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador). VI. Agariciidae, Pavona clavus

  • P. W. GlynnEmail author
  • S. B. Colley
  • H. M. Guzman
  • I. C. Enochs
  • J. Cortés
  • J. L. Maté
  • J. S. Feingold
Original Paper


The reproductive ecology of the zooxanthellate reef coral Pavona clavus was investigated at several sites in Costa Rica, Panamá, and the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador) over the period 1985–2009. Pavona clavus displayed stable gonochorism as only five hermaphrodites were found in 590 samples. At four of five locations, sex ratios were skewed toward female dominance; however, at Saboga Island (Panamá) male colonies predominated. In Panamá, sexual maturity was observed in an estimated eight-year-old female colony, and several colonies of 10–20 years of age demonstrated gametogenesis. Sexual activity was observed at all study sites, but gamete development occurred in only 14–31% of colonies sampled sporadically. Seasonality of gametogenic activity occurred predominantly during the warm/wet season, June to August, at mainland sites (Caño Island, Costa Rica, and Gulfs of Chiriquí and Panamá, Panamá). This pattern was repeated in the Galápagos Islands, but mainly from March to May when seasonally high sea temperatures and rainfall prevailed there. Histological sampling and field observations indicated that spawning was centered around the full moon, most frequently on lunar day 17, and near sunset (1,800 h). Mean fecundity (mature ova cm−2 live tissue) estimates were significantly different for two sites and ranged from ~1,780 (Saboga Island, Gulf of Panamá, seasonally upwelling) to ~4,280 (Uva Is, Gulf of Chiriquí, non-upwelling). Assuming three annual spawning events colony−1 (August, September, October), extrapolation of minimum and maximum fecundities yield 5,340 and 12,840 ova cm−2 year−1. Seasonal, lunar, and diel spawning patterns in nine zooxanthellate species at Uva Island indicate asynchronous coral community spawning.


Great Barrier Reef Ecuador Reproductive Activity Full Moon Fecundity Estimate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



For help with collections, field observations, and laboratory work, we thank Andrew Baker, Kathy Black, Celina Bourbonierre, Viktor Brandtneris, Luis D’Croz, Peggy Fong, Erin Kapostasy, Priscilla Martínez, Fernando Rivera, Tyler Smith, Lauren Toth, Aníbal Velarde, and Nancy Voss. Bernadette Bezy shared observations on spawning in Costa Rica, and for this we are very grateful. Research support was provided by the US National Science Foundation, Biological Oceanography Program, grant OCE-0526361 and earlier awards. Thanks are due to the following host-country institutions for facilitating this research: Costa Rica, Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR), Universidad de Costa Rica, and Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación, Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía; Panamá, Departamento de Biología Acuática, Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM), and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Ecuador, Charles Darwin Research Station, and the Galápagos National Park Service. This is a contribution from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. Glynn
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. B. Colley
    • 2
  • H. M. Guzman
    • 3
  • I. C. Enochs
    • 4
  • J. Cortés
    • 5
  • J. L. Maté
    • 3
  • J. S. Feingold
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.PBS&JMetairieUSA
  3. 3.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboa, AnconPanamá
  4. 4.Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  5. 5.Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR), and Escuela de Biología, Ciudad de InvestigaciónUniversidad de Costa RicaSan JoséCosta Rica
  6. 6.Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic CenterDania BeachUSA

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