Marine Biology

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 355–368 | Cite as

Reef coral reproduction in the eastern Pacific: Costa Rica, Panama, and Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

I. Pocilloporidae
  • P. W. Glynn
  • N. J. Gassman
  • C. M. Eakin
  • J. Cortes
  • D. B. Smith
  • H. M. Guzman
Article

Abstract

Reproductive ecology of two major reef-building corals in the eastern Pacific [Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus) andPocillopora elegans Dana] was investigated between 1984 and 1990 in Costa Rica, Panama (Gulf of Chiriqui and Gulf of Panama), and the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) following the 1982–83 El Niño disturbance. Mature spermatocytes and oocytes were found in both species and were usually present in the same polyp in nearly equal ratios. Numerous zooxanthellae were observed in mature, unfertilized oocytes. Although spawning in field populations was not observed, it is likely that both pocilloporids are simultaneous hermaphroditic spawners, as evidenced by the disappearance of mature gametes after full moon. This is in contrast with most known pocilloporid corals that brood and release planula larvae. Corals were reproductively most active in the thermally stable environments of Costa Rica and the Gulf of Chiriqui (Panama) where 32 to 90% of all colonies contained gametes. In the moderately varying thermal conditions in the Galapagos Islands, 16 to 40% of colonies contained gametes, and in the pronounced seasonal upwelling environment of the Pearl Islands (Panama) only 6 to 18% of colonies contained gametes. Year-round reproduction occurred in Costa Rica and the Gulf of Chiriqui, whereas reproduction was confined to warm periods in the seasonally varying environments of the Galapagos Islands and the Gulf of Panama. Pocilloporid corals in Costa Rica and the Gulf of Chiriqui demonstrated lunar spawning activity, with mature gametes present a few days before and after full moon. Some limited spawning may have occurred also at new moon. While frequent gamete maturation has been demonstrated in this study, the relatively low rates of larval recruitment occurring on eastern Pacific coral reefs disturbed by the 1982–83 El Niño suggest that the recovery of important frame-building corals could be greatly prolonged.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Babcock, R. C., Bull, G. D., Harrison, P. L., Heyward, A. J., Oliver, J. K., Wallace, C. C., Willis, B. L. (1986). Synchronous spawning of 105 scleractinian coral species on the Great Barrier Reef. Mar. Biol. 90: 379–394Google Scholar
  2. Birkeland, C. (1977). The importance of rate of biomass accumulation in early successional stages of benthic communities to the survival of coral recruits. Proc. 3rd int. Symp. coral Reefs 1: 15–21 [Taylor, D. L. et al. (eds.) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida]Google Scholar
  3. Birkeland, C., Rowley, D., Randall, R. H. (1982). Coral recruitment patterns at Guam. Proc. 4th int. Symp. coral Reefs 2: 339–344 [Gomez, E. D. et al. (eds.) Marine Sciences Center, University of the Philippines, Quezon City]Google Scholar
  4. Connell, J. H., Keough, M. J. (1985). Disturbance and patch dynamics of subtidal marine animals on hard substrata. In: Pickett, S. T. A., White, P. S. (eds.) The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Academic Press, New York, p. 125–151Google Scholar
  5. Cortes, J., Murillo, M. M., Guzman, H. M., Acuña, J. (1984). Perdida de zooxantelas y muerte de corales y otros organismos arrecifales en el Caribe y Pacifico de Costa Rica. Revta Biol. trop. 32: 227–231Google Scholar
  6. Dana, T. F. (1975). Development of contemporary eastern Pacific coral reefs. Mar. Biol. 33: 355–374Google Scholar
  7. Fadlallah, Y. H. (1983). Sexual reproduction, development and larval biology in scleractinian corals. A review. Coral Reefs 2: 129–150Google Scholar
  8. Fadlallah, Y. H. (1985). Reproduction in the coralPocillopora verrucosa on the reefs adjacent to the industrial city of Yanbu (Red Sea, Saudi Arabia). Proc. 5th int. coral Reef Congr. 4: 313–318. [Gabrié, C. et al. (eds.) Antenne Museum-EPHE, Moorea, French Polynesia]Google Scholar
  9. Falkowski, P. G., Dubinsky, Z., Muscatine, L., Porter, J. W. (1984). Light and the bioenergetics of a symbiotic coral. BioSci. 34: 705–709Google Scholar
  10. Forsbergh, E. D. (1969). On the climatology, oceanography and fisheries of the Panama Bight. Bull. inter-Am. trop. Tuna Commn 14: 49–385Google Scholar
  11. Giese, A. C., Pearse, J. S. (eds.) (1974). Introduction. In: Reproduction of marine invertebrates, Vol. I, Acoelomate and pseudocoelomate metazoans. Academic Press, New York, p. 1–49Google Scholar
  12. Glynn, P. W. (1974). The impact ofAcanthaster on corals and coral reefs in the eastern Pacific. Envir. Conserv. 1: 295–304Google Scholar
  13. Glynn, P. W. (1976). Some physical and biological determinants of coral community structure in the eastern Pacific. Ecol. Monogr. 46: 431–456Google Scholar
  14. Glynn, P. W. (1977). Coral growth in upwelling and nonupwelling areas off the Pacific coast of Panama. J. mar. Res. 35: 567–585Google Scholar
  15. Glynn, P. W. (1982). Coral communities and their modifications relative to past and prospective Central American seaways. Adv. mar. Biol. 19: 91–132Google Scholar
  16. Glynn, P. W. (1984). Widespread coral mortality and the 1982/83 El Niño warming event. Envir. Conserv. 11: 133–146Google Scholar
  17. Glynn, P. W. (1988). El Niño-Southern Oscillation 1982–1983: nearshore population, community, and ecosystem responses. A. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 19: 309–345Google Scholar
  18. Glynn, P. W. (ed.) (1990). Coral mortality and disturbances to coral reefs in the tropical eastern Pacific. In: Global ecological consequences of the 1982–1983 El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Elsevier Oceanography Series, Amsterdam, p. 55–126Google Scholar
  19. Glynn, P. W., Cortes, J., Guzman, H. M., Richmond, R. H. (1988). El Niño (1982–83) associated coral mortality and relationship to sea surface temperature deviations in the tropical eastern Pacific. Proc. 6th int. coral Reef Symp. 3: 237–243 [Choat, J. H. et al. (eds.) Sixth International Coral Reef Symposium Executive Committee, Townsville, Australia]Google Scholar
  20. Glynn, P. W., D'Croz, L. (1990). Experimental evidence for high temperature stress as the cause of El Niño-coincident coral mortality. Coral Reefs 8: 181–191Google Scholar
  21. Glynn, P. W., Macintyre, I. G. (1977). Growth rate and age of coral reefs on the Pacific coast of Panama. Proc. 3rd int. Symp. coral Reefs 2: 251–259 [Taylor, D. L. et al. (eds.) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida]Google Scholar
  22. Glynn, P. W., Prahl, H. von, Guhl, F. (1982). Coral reefs of Gorgona Island, Colombia, with special reference to corallivores and their influence on community structure and reef development. An. Inst. Invest. mar. Punta de Betín 12: 185–214Google Scholar
  23. Glynn, P. W., Stewart, R. H. (1973). Distribution of coral reefs in the Pearl Islands (Gulf of Panama) in relation to thermal conditions. Limnol. Oceanogr. 18: 367–379Google Scholar
  24. Glynn, P. W., Stewart, R. H., McCosker, J. E. (1972). Pacific coral reefs of Panama: structure, distribution and predators. Geol. Rdsch. 61: 483–519Google Scholar
  25. Glynn, P. W., Wellington, G. M. (1983). Corals and coral reefs of the Galapagos Islands. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  26. Guzman, H. M., Cortes, J. (1989). Coral reef community structure at Caño Island, Pacific Costa Rica. Pubbl. Staz. zool. Napoli (I: Mar. Ecol.) 10: 23–41Google Scholar
  27. Guzman, H. M., Cortes, J., Glynn, P. W., Richmond, R. H. (1990). Coral mortality associated with dinoflagellate blooms in the eastern Pacific (Costa Rica and Panama). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 60: 299–303Google Scholar
  28. Guzman, H. M., Cortes, J., Richmond, R. H., Glynn, P. W. (1987). Efectos del fenomeno de El Niño-Oscilacion Sureña 1982–83 en los arrecifes coralinos de lá Isla del Caño, Costa Rica. Revta Biol. trop. 35: 325–332Google Scholar
  29. Harriott, V. J. (1983a). Reproductive seasonality, settlement, and post-settlement mortality ofPocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus), at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 2: 151–157Google Scholar
  30. Harriott, V. J. (1983b). Reproductive ecology of four scleractinian species at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 2: 9–18Google Scholar
  31. Harrison, P. L., Babcock, R. C., Bull, G. D., Oliver, J. K., Wallace, C. C., Willis, B. L. (1984). Mass spawning in tropical reef corals. Science, Wash., D.C. 223: 1,186–1,189Google Scholar
  32. Heyward, A. J., Yamazato, K., Yemin, T., Minei, M. (1987). Sexual reproduction of corals in Okinawa. Galaxea 6: 331–343Google Scholar
  33. Highsmith, R. C. (1982). Reproduction by fragmentation in corals. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 7: 207–226Google Scholar
  34. Jokiel, P. L. (1985). Lunar periodicity of planula release in the reef coralPocillopora damicornis in relation to various environmental factors. Proc. 5th int. coral Reef Congr. 4: 307–312. [Gabrié, C. et al. (eds.) Antenne Museum-EPHE, Moorea, French Polynesia]Google Scholar
  35. Jokiel, P. L., Guinther, E. B. (1978). Effects of temperature on reproduction in the hermatypic coralPocillopora damicornis. Bull. mar. Sci. 33: 181–187Google Scholar
  36. Kwiecinski, B., Chial, B., Torres, A. (1988). El Niño and post El Niño (1982–1986) in the Gulf of Panama. Trop. Ocean-Atmos. Newsl. 44: 7–8Google Scholar
  37. Kwiecinski, B., Chial-Z., B. (1983). Algunos aspectos de la oceanografia del Golfo de Chiriqui, su comparacion con el Golfo de Panama. Revta Biol. trop. 31: 323–325Google Scholar
  38. Lander, M. A. (1989). A comparative analysis of the 1987 ENSO event. Trop. Ocean-Atmos. Newsl. 49: 3–6Google Scholar
  39. Luna, J. G. (1968). Manual of histologic staining methods of the armed forces institute of pathology, 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Muscatine, L., Porter, J. W. (1977). Reef corals: mutualistic symbioses adapted to nutrient-poor environments. BioSci. 27: 454–460Google Scholar
  41. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) (1982). World weather records, 1961–1970. Environmental Data Information Service, Vol. 3. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Center, Asheville, North CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  42. Oliver, J. K., Babcock, R. C., Harrison, P. L., Willis, B. L. (1988). Geographic extent of mass coral spawning: clues to ultimate causal factors. Proc. 6th int. coral Reef Symp. 2: 803–810 [Choat, J. H. et al. (eds.) Sixth International Coral Reef Symposium Executive Committee, Townsville, Australia]Google Scholar
  43. Porter, J. W. (1972). Ecology and species diversity of coral reefs on opposite sides of the Isthmus of Panama. Bull. biol. Soc. Wash. 2: 89–116Google Scholar
  44. Porter, J. W. (1974). Community structure of coral reefs on opposite sides of the Isthmus of Panama. Science, Wash., D.C. 186: 543–545Google Scholar
  45. Prahl, H. von (1985). Blanqueo masivo y muerte de corales hermatipicos en el Pacifico Colombiano atribuidos al fenomeno de El Niño 1982–83. Boln ERFEN (CPPS, Bogota) 12: 22–24Google Scholar
  46. Quinn, W. H., Neal, V. T., Antunez de Mayolo, S. E. (1987). El Niño occurrences over the past four and a half centuries. J. geophys. Res. 92: 14,449–14,461Google Scholar
  47. Renner, J. A. (1963). Sea surface temperature monthly average and anomaly charts. Eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, 1947–58. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Scientific Report — Fisheries No. 442. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., p. 1–57Google Scholar
  48. Richmond, R. H. (1982). Energetic considerations in the dispersal ofPocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus) planulae. Proc. 4th int. Symp. coral Reefs 2: 153–156 [Gomez, E. D. et al. (eds.) Marine Sciences Center, University of the Philippines, Quezon City]Google Scholar
  49. Richmond, R. H. (1985). Variations in the population biology ofPocillopora damicornis across the Pacific. Proc. 5th int. coral Reef Congr. 6: 101–106. [Gabrié, C. et al. (eds.) Antenne Museum-EPHE, Moorea, French Polynesia]Google Scholar
  50. Richmond, R. H. (1987a). Energetic relationships and biogeographical differences among fecundity, growth, and reproduction in the reef coral,Pocillopora damicornis. Bull. mar. Sci. 41: 595–604Google Scholar
  51. Richmond, R. H. (1987b). Energetics, competency, and long-distance dispersal of planula larvae of the coralPocillopora damicornis. Mar. Biol. 93: 527–533Google Scholar
  52. Richmond, R. H. (1990). The effects of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation on the dispersal of corals and other marine organisms. In: Glynn, P. W. (ed.) Global ecological consequences of the 1982–83 El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Elsevier Oceanography Series, Amsterdam, p. 127–140Google Scholar
  53. Richmond, R. H., Hunter, C. L. (1990). Reproduction and recruitment of corals: comparisons among the Caribbean, the tropical Pacific, and the Red Sea. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 60: 185–203Google Scholar
  54. Richmond, R. H., Jokiel, P. L. (1984). Lunar periodicity in larva release in the reef coralPocillopora damicornis at Enewetak and Hawaii. Bull. mar. Sci. 34: 280–287Google Scholar
  55. Robalino, M. (1985). Registros meterologicos de la estacion cientifica Charles Darwin para 1982–1983. In: Robinson, G., del Pino, E. M. (eds.) El Niño in the Galapagos Islands: the 1982–1983 event. Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, Quito, Ecuador, p. 83–90Google Scholar
  56. Robinson, G. (1985). The influence of the 1982–83 El Niño on Galapagos marine life. In: Robinson, G., del Pino, E. M. (eds.) El Niño in the Galapagos Islands: the 1982–1983 event. Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, Quito, Ecuador, p. 153–190Google Scholar
  57. Sammarco, P. W. (1982). Polyp bail-out: an escape response to environmental stress and a new means of reproduction in corals. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 10: 57–65Google Scholar
  58. Sammarco, P. W., Andrews, J. C. (1988). Localized dispersal and recruitment in Great Barrier Reef corals: the Helix experiment. Science, Wash., D.C. 239: 1,422–1,424Google Scholar
  59. Shlesinger, Y., Loya, Y. (1985). Coral community reproductive patterns. Red Sea versus the Great Barrier Reef. Science, Wash., D.C. 228: 1,333–1,335Google Scholar
  60. Stimson, J. S. (1978). Mode and timing of reproduction in some common hermatypic corals of Hawaii and Enewetak. Mar. Biol. 48: 173–184Google Scholar
  61. Stoddart, J. A. (1983). Asexual production of planulae in the coralPocillopora damicornis. Mar. Biol. 76: 279–284Google Scholar
  62. Stoddart, J. A., Black, R. (1985). Cycles of gametogenesis and planulation in the coralPocillopora damicornis. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 23: 153–164Google Scholar
  63. Szmant, A. M. (1986). Reproductive ecology of Caribbean reef corals. Coral Reefs 5: 43–53Google Scholar
  64. Szmant-Froelich, A., Reutter, M., Riggs, L. (1985). Sexual reproduction ofFavia fragum (Esper): lunar patterns of gametogenesis, embryogenesis and planulation in Puerto Rico. Bull. mar. Sci. 37: 880–892Google Scholar
  65. Szmant-Froelich, A., Yevich, P., Pilson, M. E. Q. (1980). Gametogenesis and early development of the temperate coralAstrangia danae (Anthozoa: Scleractinia). Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 158: 257–269Google Scholar
  66. Veron, J. E. N., Pichon, M. (1976). Scleractinia of eastern Australia, part I. Families Thamnasteriidae, Astrocoeniidae, Pocilloporidae. Monogr. Ser. Aust. Inst. mar. Sci. 1: 1–86Google Scholar
  67. Wellington, G. M. (1982a). Depth zonation of corals in the Gulf of Panama: control and facilitation by resident reef fishes. Ecol. Monogr. 52: 223–241Google Scholar
  68. Wellington, G. M. (1982b). An experimental analysis of the effects of light and zooplankton on coral zonation. Oecologia 52: 311–320Google Scholar
  69. Wellington, G. M., Glynn, P. W. (1983). Environmental influences on skeletal banding in eastern Pacific (Panama) corals. Coral Reefs 1: 215–222Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. Glynn
    • 1
  • N. J. Gassman
    • 1
  • C. M. Eakin
    • 1
  • J. Cortes
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. B. Smith
    • 1
  • H. M. Guzman
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Centro de Investigacion en Ciencias del Mar y LimnologiaUniversidad de Costa RicaSan PedroCosta Rica
  3. 3.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteAPO MiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations