Energetics, competency, and long-distance dispersal of planula larvae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis
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Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus) were collected from Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, in 1980–1981) and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, in 1982. Their planula larvae contained 17% protein, 70% lipid, and 13% carbohydrate by dry weight. Calculations based on stored energy reserves and daily metabolic expenditure indicate that planulae could survive approximately 100 d and still settle successfully. Competency experiments demonstrated that larvae settled and metamorphosed after 103 d. This period of time is sufficient to allow immigration of larvae from the Central Pacific to the eastern Pacific, and supports the hypothesis of long-distance dispersal of larvae for the origin of present eastern Pacific populations of P. damicornis.
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