, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 197-200

Distribution and abundance of coral plankton

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Abstract

High densities of eggs and larvae of scleractinian corals were found in plankton samples after mass, multi-specific spawnings on inshore high island fringing reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef region. Immediately after spawning, vertical stratification was observed with eggs concentrated on the surface. Larvae were found to be distributed vertically and horizontally within 12 hours of spawning. Larval development over the subsequent 6–7 days was associated with an increase in the length/width ratios of larvae and their volumes. Influxes of mature larvae onto the study reef were observed 3–6 days after spawning. The relative success of the sampling in relation to other reports in the literature, and the future for more informed work on the larval ecology of corals are discussed.