Chapter

Coral Reefs: An Ecosystem in Transition

pp 59-85

Date:

Sexual Reproduction of Scleractinian Corals

  • Peter L. HarrisonAffiliated withSchool of Environmental Science and Management, Southern Cross University Email author 

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Abstract

Sexual reproduction by scleractinian reef corals is important for maintaining coral populations and evolutionary processes. The ongoing global renaissance in coral reproduction research is providing a wealth of new information on this topic, and has almost doubled the global database on coral reproductive patterns during the past two decades. Information on sexual reproduction is now available for 444 scleractinian species, and confirms that hermaphroditic broadcast spawning is the dominant pattern among coral species studied to date. Relatively few hermaphroditic or gonochoric brooding species have been recorded. Multispecific coral spawning has been recorded on many reefs, but the degree of reproductive synchrony varies greatly within and among species at different geographic locations.

Keywords

Sexual reproduction asexual reproduction scleractinia sexuality broadcast spawning brooding biogeographic patterns proximate cues mass spawning multispecific spawning