Coral Reefs

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 524–534 | Cite as

The effect of selected trace metals on the fertilization success of several scleractinian coral species



This study provides new information on the effects of various concentrations of the trace metals copper, lead, zinc, cadmium, and nickel on fertilization success of gametes from the scleractinian reef corals Goniastrea aspera,Goniastrea retiformis, Acropora tenuis, and Acropora longicyathus. The EC50 values (the concentration that reduces the fertilization rate by 50% relative to the control fertilization) for copper effects on fertilization success of these coral species range from 15 to 40 µg/L, which is similar to responses of other marine invertebrates. The EC50 values for lead were 1450–1800 µg/L for the Acropora species, and >2400 µg/L for G. aspera gametes, which indicates that lead was much less toxic than copper. Fertilization responses to zinc and nickel were variable and a significant reduction in fertilization success for A. tenuis gametes was found only at very high cadmium concentrations. The data from this study and other recent research clearly demonstrate that some trace metals impair the fertilization success of gametes from faviid and acroporiid reef corals. Trace metal inputs into reef waters should be limited and controlled to avoid potential interference with sexual reproductive processes of reef corals.


Corals Ecotoxicology Fertilization Trace metals 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and ManagementSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreNSWAustralia

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