Optimization of a spawning‑induction protocol for the prediction of natural coral spawning


Many scleractinian corals only spawn once a year, so opportunities for collecting their gametes are limited. Consequently, the induction of spawning in coral would be useful, not only for studies on the mechanisms of coral reproduction, but also for stock enhancement. A spawning-induction method using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has already been developed for coral, but most adult corals died after exposure to H2O2. In the present study, a comparison of the effects of low concentrations of H2O2 (0.5–1.5 mM) on adult corals indicated that 1 mM H2O2 was the upper threshold for inducing spawning without harmful effects. In addition, the effect of repeated exposure to H2O2 on the same colony, and the relationship between the timing of H2O2 exposure and the lunar phase, were investigated. The success rate of induced spawning was dependent not on H2O2 concentration but largely on the time lag between exposure to H2O2 and timing of natural mass spawning. Spawning was induced in ≥ 70% of coral colonies when they were exposed to H2O2 within the 2-day period prior to a natural mass spawning event. The described technique is not only useful for the collection of artificially induced coral gametes, but also for estimating the specific timing of natural mass spawning of coral.

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This study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant 15H04538 to G. S.). The author thanks H. Yamashita, Y. Fujikura, and C. Shinzato for their assistance with experiments. The sampling of corals was permitted by the Okinawa Prefectural Government for research purposes (permit nos. 25-49, 26-68, 27-73, 28-76, 29-74, 31-1).

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Correspondence to Go Suzuki.

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Suzuki, G. Optimization of a spawning‑induction protocol for the prediction of natural coral spawning. Fish Sci 86, 665–671 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12562-020-01425-1

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  • Acroporid
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Mass spawning
  • Stock enhancement
  • Gamete collection
  • Coral restoration