Coral Reefs

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 169–171

Deepwater broadcast spawning by Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea franksi, and Diploria strigosa at the Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico


DOI: 10.1007/s00338-005-0082-5

Cite this article as:
Vize, P.D. Coral Reefs (2006) 25: 169. doi:10.1007/s00338-005-0082-5


Broadcast spawning by corals is a tightly synchronized process characterized by co-ordinated gamete release within 30–60 min time windows once per year. In shallow water corals, annual water temperature cycles set the month, lunar periodicity the day, and sunset time the hour of spawning. This tight temporal regulation is critical for achieving high fertilization rates in a pelagic environment. Given the differences in light and temperature that occur with depth and the importance of these parameters in regulating spawn timing, it has been unclear whether deeper coral can respond to the same environmental cues that regulate spawning behaviour in shallower coral. In this report, a remotely operated vehicle was used to monitor coral spawning activity at the Flower Garden Banks at depths from 33 to 45 m. Three species Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea franksi, and Diploria strigosa were documented spawning within this depth range. All recorded spawning events were within the same temporal windows as shallower conspecifics. These data indicate that deep corals at this location either sense the same environmental parameters, despite local attenuation, or communicate with shallower colonies that can sense such spawning cues.


Broadcast spawning Reproductive strategies Reef building Mass spawning 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceUniversity of CalgaryAlbertaCanada

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