, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 113-116

Long distance dispersal of reef corals by rafting

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Abstract

Settlement of larvae on floating objects and subsequent rafting of colonies provides a mechanism by which corals can bridge immense geographic distances. Reproductively mature colonies, several years in age, have been found attached to material that drifted into Hawaiian waters. During their lifetime, these corals may have traversed a total distance of from 20,000 to 40,000 km and could have completed several circuits of the tropical and subtropical Pacific basin. The ability of coral larvae to drift across vast stretches of open ocean probably does not determine the ultimate range limitation for zoogeographic dispersal of corals.

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Contribution Number 685