Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 843–849 | Cite as

Reproductive ecology of Fungiacyathus marenzelleri from 4100 m depth in the northeast Pacific Ocean

  • Hannah C. Flint
  • Rhian G. WallerEmail author
  • Paul A. Tyler
Research Article


Fungiacyathus marenzelleri (Vaughan, 1906) is a deep-water solitary coral, cosmopolitan in distribution that is found at depths of 300–6,328 m. This study examined gametogenesis, inter-annual variability and reproductive periodicity of F. marenzelleri collected from Station M (34°50′N, 123°00′W) in the northeast Pacific at a depth of 4,100 m. Samples were collected (May, June, October 1996; August 1998; February, June 2001; and June 2002) and histologically processed with spermatogenic stage, oocyte size and fecundity measured. Four stages of spermatogenesis were identified and all males contained multiple stages of sperm development in each seasonal sample. Three stages of oocyte development were identified; previtellogenic (<28–150 μm), vitellogenic (150–300 μm) and late vitellogenic (300–400 μm). Comparison of mean oocyte diameters among sampling dates showed there were no inter-annual variations or seasonal differences. Overall, fecundity was 1,290 (±407) oocytes polyp−1, and with no significant differences between sample months. Fecundity was not polyp-size dependent. This study shows a similar quasi-continuous mode of reproduction to this species examined from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, but the fecundity is reduced by 50%. The reproductive output may fluctuate in relation to the input of organic material at this site, as shown by non-significant trends in the oocyte size-frequency and fecundity data. A quasi-continuous output of gametes would promote successful fertilisation and wide dispersal of the lecithotrophic larvae.


Reproductive Pattern Oocyte Diameter Previtellogenic Oocyte Rockall Trough Reef Builder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Daphne Fautin, Stephen Cairns, Roberta Baldwin and Ken Smith for facilitating and providing the use of these samples for this study. Samples were collected using NSF grants OCE8922620, OCE9217334, OCE9807103, OCE024272 awarded to K. Smith. Jon Copley also provided useful comments and suggestions that improved this manuscript. HCF was supported by a NERC graduate fellowship, and RGW by the European Union PhD Fellowship under the ACES programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah C. Flint
    • 1
  • Rhian G. Waller
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul A. Tyler
    • 1
  1. 1.National Oceanography CentreUniversity of Southampton, European WaySouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA

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