Coral Reefs

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 759–763

Differing effects of thermal stress on coral fertilization and early embryogenesis in four Indo Pacific species


DOI: 10.1007/s00338-007-0258-2

Cite this article as:
Negri, A.P., Marshall, P.A. & Heyward, A.J. Coral Reefs (2007) 26: 759. doi:10.1007/s00338-007-0258-2


Coral reefs are expected to be severely impacted by rising seawater temperatures associated with climate change. The fertilization and early embryogenesis of four reef-building coral species representing three Indo-Pacific families were examined in a series of laboratory experiments where temperatures were increased up to 5–6°C at ambient. High levels of fertilization and normal embryogenesis were observed for Favites abdita, Favites chinensis and Mycedium elephantotus at temperatures to 32°C (+5°C) and embryos developed normally until the 5th cell cleavage. Acropora millepora was the only species to be affected by higher temperatures, exhibiting significantly reduced fertilization and a higher frequency of embryonic abnormalities at 32°C (+4°C), and fertilization ceased altogether at 34°C (+6°C). Early cell cleavage rates increased with temperature up to 32°C for all species.


CoralFertilizationTemperatureClimate changeGlobal warmingReproduction

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3TownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.TownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceCrawleyAustralia