Invited Review

Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 658-671

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The Biology and Economics of Coral Growth

  • Ronald OsingaAffiliated withAquaculture and Fisheries, Wageningen University Email author 
  • , Miriam SchutterAffiliated withAquaculture and Fisheries, Wageningen UniversityBioprocess Engineering, Wageningen University
  • , Ben GriffioenAffiliated withAquaculture and Fisheries, Wageningen University
  • , René H. WijffelsAffiliated withBioprocess Engineering, Wageningen University
  • , Johan A. J. VerrethAffiliated withAquaculture and Fisheries, Wageningen University
  • , Shai ShafirAffiliated withIsrael Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography
  • , Stéphane HenardAffiliated withNAUSICAA, Centre National de la Mer
  • , Maura TaruffiAffiliated withAcquario di Genova
  • , Claudia GiliAffiliated withAcquario di Genova
    • , Silvia LavoranoAffiliated withAcquario di Genova


To protect natural coral reefs, it is of utmost importance to understand how the growth of the main reef-building organisms—the zooxanthellate scleractinian corals—is controlled. Understanding coral growth is also relevant for coral aquaculture, which is a rapidly developing business. This review paper provides a comprehensive overview of factors that can influence the growth of zooxanthellate scleractinian corals, with particular emphasis on interactions between these factors. Furthermore, the kinetic principles underlying coral growth are discussed. The reviewed information is put into an economic perspective by making an estimation of the costs of coral aquaculture.


Corals Growth Aquaculture Zooxanthellate Scleractinia