Coral Reefs

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 418–421 | Cite as

Post-settlement mortality and growth of newly settled reef corals in a subtropical environment

Note

Abstract

There are few studies of post-settlement mortality of newly settled corals, particularly on subtropical reefs. This study examined the mortality and growth of spat of three broadcast spawning coral species at the Solitary Islands, eastern Australia (30°S). Mortality of spat was high, with only 0.2–2.8% surviving their first year of life. Growth was slow, with coral spat achieving a maximum diameter of 2 mm after 8 months. High post-settlement mortality and slow growth rates are likely to contribute to low rates of recruitment of broadcast spawning species at the Solitary Islands.

Keywords

Post-settlement mortality Coral recruitment Subtropical reefs Growth 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Dive Quest for their excellent assistance with diving operations and the many volunteers who helped with diving and laboratory work (especially G. Hart, S. Harrison, and K. Dallas). This project was supported by an ARC Grant and Southern Cross University Internal Research Grants to P. Harrison, and an ACRS Student Grant and Southern Cross University Postgraduate Grants to J. Wilson.

References

  1. Babcock R (1985) Growth and mortality in juvenile corals (Goniastrea, Platygyra and Acropora): the first year. In: Proceedings of the 5th international coral reef congress 4:355–360Google Scholar
  2. Babcock R, Mundy C (1996) Coral recruitment: consequences of settlement choice for early growth and survivorship in two scleractinians. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 206:179–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Birkeland C (1977) The importance of rate of biomass accumulation in early successional stages of benthic communities to the survival of coral recruits. In: Proceedings of the 3rd international coral reef symposium 1:15–21Google Scholar
  4. Brock RE (1979) An experimental study on the effects of grazing by parrotfishes and role of refuges in benthic community structure. Mar Biol 51:381–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fitzhardinge RC (1988) Coral recruitment: the importance of interspecific differences in juvenile growth and mortality. In: Proceedings of the 6th international coral reef symposium 2:673–678Google Scholar
  6. Harriott VJ (1992) Recruitment patterns of scleractinian corals in an isolated sub-tropical reef system. Coral Reefs 11:215–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harriott VJ, Banks SA (1995) Recruitment of scleractinian corals in the Solitary Islands Marine Reserve, a high latitude coral-dominated community in eastern Australia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 123:155–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Harriott VJ, Smith SDA, Harrison PL (1994) Patterns of coral community structure of subtropical reefs in the Solitary Islands Marine Reserve, Eastern Australia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 109:67–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harrison PL, Wallace CC (1990) Reproduction, dispersal and recruitment of scleractinian corals, ch. 7. In: Dubinsky Z (ed) Coral reef ecosystems, ecosystems of the world, vol 25. Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam, pp 133–207Google Scholar
  10. Keough MJ, Downes BJ (1982) Recruitment of marine invertebrates: the role of active larval choices and early mortality. Oecologia 54:348–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Morse ANC (1992) Role of algae in the recruitment of marine invertebrate larvae. In: John DM et al (eds) Plant–animal interaction in the marine benthos, vol 46. Clarendon, Oxford, pp 385–403Google Scholar
  12. Smith SR (1992) Patterns of coral recruitment and post-settlement mortality on Bermuda’s Reefs: comparisons to Caribbean and Pacific Reefs. Am Zool 32:663–673Google Scholar
  13. Wilson JR (1998) Reproduction and larval ecology of broadcast spawning corals at the Solitary Islands, eastern Australia. PhD Thesis, Southern Cross UniversityGoogle Scholar
  14. Wilson JR, Harrison PL (1997) Sexual reproduction in high latitude coral communities at the Solitary Islands, eastern Australia. In: Proceedings of the 8th international coral reef symposium, Panama 1:533–538Google Scholar
  15. Wilson JR, Harrison PL (1998) Settlement-competency periods of larvae of three species of scleractinian corals. Mar Biol 131:339–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wilson JR, Harrison PL (2003) Spawning patterns of scleractinian corals at the Solitary Islands—a high latitude coral community in eastern Australia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 260:115–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and ManagementSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.NSWAustralia

Personalised recommendations