Coral Reefs

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 455–458 | Cite as

Effects of the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula on larval recruitment of the reef corals Acropora surculosa and Pocillopora damicornis

  • Ilsa B. KuffnerEmail author
  • Valerie J. Paul


Coral reef degradation resulting from a multitude of stressors is occurring on a global scale (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999; Hughes et al. 2003). The outcome of reef degradation is often a decrease in live coral, followed by the proliferation of algae (termed a phase shift) (Hughes 1994; McCook 1999). Successful coral recruitment is critical to the regeneration of reefs, and recruitment failure may be a major reason that reefs are not recovering from phase shifts (Hughes and Connell 1999; Hughes and Tanner 2000). When reefs become dominated by macroalgae, larval access to suitable settling habitat is decreased (McCook et al. 2001), and sediments trapped within algal turfs may reduce survival of coral spat (Sato 1985). Rates of coral recruitment are inversely correlated to algal biomass (Birkeland 1977; Rogers et al. 1984).

Interactions between benthic cyanobacteria and corals have not been examined experimentally to date, but recent studies have documented cyanobacterial blooms on...


Allelopathy Coral settlement Cyanobacteria Guam Phase shifts 



We thank Brent Womersley, Chris Bassler and Sonia Shjegstad for assistance in the field and laboratory. We also thank the Bob Richmond laboratory for their assistance with obtaining Acropora surculosa gametes. This is contribution number 83 of the US ECOHAB program, sponsored by NOAA, NSF, EPA, NASA, and ONR, and contribution number 557 of the University of Guam Marine Laboratory. Although the research described in this article has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency through grant number R82–6220, it has not been subjected to the Agency’s required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UOG Station University of Guam Marine LaboratoryMangilaoUSA
  2. 2.Center for Coastal and Watershed StudiesU.S. Geological SurveyFL
  3. 3.Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort PierceFort Pierce

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