Larval paternity and male reproductive success of a broadcast-spawning gorgonian, Plexaura kuna
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- Coffroth, M. & Lasker, H. Marine Biology (1998) 131: 329. doi:10.1007/s002270050326
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Male reproductive success of the broadcast-spawning gorgonian, Plexaura kuna Lasker, Kim and Coffroth, 1996, was measured in June 1994 and June and July 1995 at two sites in the San Blas Islands, Panamá in order to determine the environmental and biotic factors affecting individual reproductive success. Developing embryos were collected in the field during natural spawning events, and paternity determined using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA markers. Analyses of F1 progeny from defined laboratory matings established that the markers were inherited in Mendelian fashion, and allowed the determination of the zygosities of the markers. P. kuna is clonal, but male reproductive success was not strictly proportional to clone size. Proximity to females appeared to have a greater effect on male reproductive success than clone size, and on both reefs the most successful male clone was the one closest to the spawning female clone. Current direction and transport of gametes by eddies explained variation in paternity assignments between nights. Clonal propagation allows clones to grow and spread toward each other, and may enhance male reproductive success.