Advertisement

Coral Reefs

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 119–124 | Cite as

Synchronous reproduction of corals in the Red Sea

  • M. H. Hanafy
  • M. A. Aamer
  • M. Habib
  • Anthony B. Rouphael
  • Andrew H. Baird
Report

Abstract

Multi-species synchronous spawning was first described on reefs off the east and west coast of Australia. In contrast, locally abundant species in the northern Red Sea and the central Pacific have little overlap in the time of reproduction. Consequently, the idea developed that high levels of spawning synchrony both within and among species was largely confined to Australian reefs. Here, we show that gamete maturity in colonies of the genus Acropora was highly synchronous in the Red Sea. In early April 2008, at two locations separated by 300 km, 13 of 24 species sampled had mature colonies, and a further 9 species had immature colonies. In late April–early May 2008, all colonies sampled had no oocytes, indicating colonies had spawned a few days after the full moon of 20 April 2008. Similarly, in 2009, 99% of colonies from 17 species at Hurghada were mature in late April, and all were empty in early May. Spawn slicks suggested many of these colonies had released gametes three night prior to the full moon on 8 May 2009. This level of synchrony in gamete maturity is among the highest ever recorded and similar to that typically recorded in Acropora assemblages on Australian reefs. While further work is required to document the night of gamete release, these data strongly suggest that high levels of spawning synchrony are a regular feature of these Red Sea coral assemblages and that multi-species spawning occurs on or around the full moon in April and/or May.

Keywords

Coral reefs Reproduction Spawning synchrony 

References

  1. Babcock RC, Bull GD, Harrison PL, Heyward AJ, Oliver JK, Wallace CC, Willis BL (1986) Synchronous spawnings of 105 scleractinian coral species on the Great Barrier Reef. Mar Biol 90:379–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baird AH, Guest JR (2009) Spawning synchrony in scleractinian corals: Comment on Mangubhai and Harrison (2008). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 374:301–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baird AH, Marshall PA, Wolstenholme J (2002) Latitudinal variation in the reproduction of Acropora in the Coral Sea. Proc 9th Int Coral Reef Symp I: 385–389Google Scholar
  4. Baird AH, Campbell SJ, Anggoro AW, Ardiwijaya RL, Fadli N, Herdiana Y, Kartawijaya T, Mahyiddin D, Mukminin A, Pardede ST, Pratchett MS, Rudi E, Siregar AM (2005) Acehnese reefs in the wake of the Asian tsunami. Curr Biol 15:1926–1930CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Baird AH, Guest JR, Willis BL (2009a) Systematic and biogeographical patterns in the reproductive biology of scleractinian corals. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 40:531–571Google Scholar
  6. Baird AH, Hughes TP, Nojima S, Pratchett MS, Van Woesik R, Yamasaki H (2009b) Latitudinal patterns in spawning synchrony in the Acropora: Japan vs the Great Barrier Reef. Galaxea in pressGoogle Scholar
  7. Baird AH, Kospartov MC, Purcell SW (in press) Highly seasonal reproduction of Acropora in New Caledonia. Pac Sci 64Google Scholar
  8. Carroll A, Harrison PL, Adjeroud M (2006) Sexual reproduction of Acropora reef corals at Moorea, French Polynesia. Coral Reefs 25:93–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fadlallah YH (1985) Reproduction in the coral Pocillopora verrucosa on the reefs adjacent to the industrial city of Yanbu (Red Sea, Saudi Arabia). Proc 5th Int Coral Reef Symp 4: 313–318Google Scholar
  10. Fadlallah YH (1996) Synchronous spawning of Acropora clathrata coral colonies from the western Arabian Gulf (Saudi Arabia). Bull Mar Sci 59:209–216Google Scholar
  11. Glynn PW, Ault JS (2000) A biogeographic analysis and review of the far eastern Pacific coral reef region. Coral Reefs 19:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guest JR (2008) How reefs respond to mass coral spawning. Science 320:621–623CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Guest JR, Baird AH, Goh BPL, Chou LM (2005a) Reproductive seasonality in an equatorial assemblage of scleractinian corals. Coral Reefs 24:112–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guest JR, Baird AH, Goh BPL, Chou LM (2005b) Seasonal reproduction in equatorial reef corals. Invert Reprodr Dev 48:207–218Google Scholar
  15. Guest JR, Baird AH, Clifton K, Heyward AJ (2008) From molecules to moonbeams: Spawning synchrony in coral reef organisms. Invert Reprodr Dev 51:145–149Google Scholar
  16. Harrison PL (2008) Coral spawn slicks at Lord Howe Island, Tasman Sea, Australia; the world’s most southerly coral reef. Coral Reefs 27:35–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harrison PL, Booth DJ (2007) Coral Reefs: Naturally dynamic and increasingly disturbed ecosystems. In: Connell SD, Gillanders BM (eds) Marine ecology. Oxford University Press, London, pp 316–377Google Scholar
  18. Harrison PL, Wallace CC (1990) Reproduction, dispersal and recruitment of scleractinian corals. In: Dubinsky Z (ed) Coral reefs. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 133–207Google Scholar
  19. Harrison PL, Babcock RC, Bull GD, Oliver JK, Wallace CC, Willis BL (1984) Mass spawning in tropical reef corals. Science 223:1187–1188Google Scholar
  20. Hayashibara T, Shimoike K, Kimura T, Hosaka S, Heyward A, Harrison P, Kudo K, Omori M (1993) Patterns of coral spawning at Akajima Island, Okinawa, Japan. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 101:253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jax K (2008) Concepts not terms. Front Ecol Environ 6:178–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kenyon JC (2008) Acropora (Anthozoa: Scleractinia) reproductive synchrony and spawning phenology in the northern Line Islands, Central Pacific, as inferred from size classes of developing oocytes. Pac Sci 62:569–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mangubhai S, Harrison PL (2009) Extended breeding seasons and asynchronous spawning among equatorial reef corals in Kenya. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 374:305–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McCormick MI (2003) Consumption of coral propagules after mass spawning enhances larval quality of damselfish through maternal effects. Oecologia 136:37–45CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Nozawa Y, Tokeshi M, Nojima S (2006) Reproduction and recruitment of scleractinian corals in a high-latitude coral community, Amakusa, southwestern Japan. Mar Biol 149:1047–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Penland L, Kloulechad J, Idip D, van Woesik R (2004) Coral spawning in the western Pacific Ocean is related to solar insolation: evidence of multiple spawning events in Palau. Coral Reefs 23:133–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peters RH (1991) A critique for ecology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  28. Pratchett MS, Gust N, Goby G, Klanten SO (2001) Consumption of coral propagules represents a significant trophic link between corals and reef fish. Coral Reefs 20:13–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Richmond RH (1997) Reproduction and recruitment in corals: critical links in the persistence of reefs. In: Birkeland C (ed) Life and death of coral reefs. Chapman & Hall, New York, pp 175–197Google Scholar
  30. Richmond RH, Hunter CL (1990) Reproduction and recruitment of corals: Comparisons among the Caribbean, the Tropical Pacific, and the Red Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 60:185–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rosser NL, Baird AH (2009) Multi-specific coral spawning in spring and autumn in far north-western Australia. Proc 11th Int Coral Reef Sym ‘in press’Google Scholar
  32. Rosser NL, Gilmour JP (2008) New insights into patterns of coral spawning on Western Australian reefs. Coral Reefs 27:345–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shlesinger Y, Loya Y (1985) Coral community reproductive patterns: Red Sea versus the Great Barrier Reef. Science 228:1333–1335CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Shlesinger Y, Goulet TL, Loya Y (1998) Reproductive patterns of scleractinian corals in the northern Red Sea. Mar Biol 132:691–701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. van Woesik R, Lacharmoise F, Koksal S (2006) Annual cycles of solar insolation predict spawning times of Caribbean corals. Ecol Lett 9:390–398CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Veron JEN (2000) Corals of the world. Australian Institute of Marine Science, TownsvilleGoogle Scholar
  37. Wild C, Tollrian R, Huettel M (2004) Rapid recycling of coral mass-spawning products in permeable reef sediments. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 271:159–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wild C, Jantzen C, Struck U, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Huettel M (2008) Biogeochemical responses following coral mass spawning on the Great Barrier Reef: pelagic-benthic coupling. Coral Reefs 27:123–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Willis BL, Babcock RC, Harrison PL, Oliver JK (1985) Patterns in the mass spawning of corals on the Great Barrier Reef from 1981 to 1984. Proc 5th Int Coral Reef Symp 4:343–348Google Scholar
  40. Willis BL, van Oppen MJH, Miller DJ, Vollmer SV, Ayre DJ (2006) The role of hybridization in the evolution of reef corals. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 37:489–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 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 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. H. Hanafy
    • 1
  • M. A. Aamer
    • 1
  • M. Habib
    • 2
  • Anthony B. Rouphael
    • 3
  • Andrew H. Baird
    • 4
  1. 1.Marine Science Department, Faculty of ScienceSuez Canal UniversityIsmailiaEgypt
  2. 2.Head of Environmental CommitteeRed Sea Association for Diving and Marine ActivitiesHurghadaEgypt
  3. 3.Marine Biodiversity and Conservation Science Group IUCN Global Marine ProgramMalagaSpain
  4. 4.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations