Coral Reefs

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 521–525 | Cite as

Differential larval settlement responses of Porites astreoides and Acropora palmata in the presence of the green alga Halimedaopuntia

Note

Abstract

Settlement is critical to maintaining coral cover on reefs, yet interspecific responses of coral planulae to common benthic macroalgae are not well characterized. Larval survival and settlement of two Caribbean reef-building corals, the broadcast-spawner Acropora palmata and the planulae-brooder Porites astreoides, were quantified following exposure to plastic algae controls and the green macroalga Halimeda opuntia. Survival and settlement rates were not significantly affected by the presence of H. opuntia in either species. However, ~10 % of P. astreoides larvae settled on the surface of the macroalga, whereas larvae of A. palmata did not. It is unlikely that corals that settle on macroalgae will survive post-settlement; therefore, H. opuntia may reduce the number of P. astreoides and other non-discriminatory larvae that survive to adulthood. Our results suggest that the presence of macroalgae on impacted reefs can have unexpected repercussions for coral recruitment and highlight discrepancies in settlement specificity between corals with distinct life history strategies.

Keywords

Settlement Coral recruitment Macroalgae Porites astreoides Acropora palmata 

References

  1. Arnold SN, Steneck RS, Mumby PJ (2010) Running the gauntlet: inhibitory effects of algal turfs on the processes of coral recruitment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 414:91–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aronson R, Bruckner A, Moore J, Precht B, Weil E (2014) Acropora palmata The IUCN red list of threatened species 2014.2. www.iucnredlist.org/details/133006/0
  3. Birrell CL, McCook LJ, Willis BL, Diaz-Pulido GA (2008) Effects of benthic algae on the replenishment of corals and the implications for the resilience of coral reefs. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 46:25–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carlon DB, Olson RR (1993) Larval dispersal distance as an explanation for adult spatial pattern in two Caribbean reef corals. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 173:247–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dixson DL, Abrego D, Hay ME (2014) Chemically mediated behavior of recruiting corals and fishes: a tipping point that may limit reef recovery. Science 345:892–897CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Fong P, Paul VJ (2011) Coral reef algae. In: Dubinsky Z, Stambler N (eds) Coral reefs: an ecosystem in transition. Springer, New York, pp 241–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Green DH, Edmunds PJ, Carpenter RC (2008) Increasing relative abundance of Porites astreoides on Caribbean reefs mediated by an overall decline in coral cover. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 359:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Harrington L, Fabricius K, De’ath G, Negri A (2004) Recognition and selection of settlement substrata determine post-settlement survival in corals. Ecology 85:3428–3437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kuffner IB, Paul VJ (2004) Effects of the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula on larval recruitment of the reef corals Acropora surculosa and Pocillopora damicornis. Coral Reefs 23:455–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kuffner IB, Walters LJ, Becerro MA, Paul VJ, Ritson-Williams R, Beach KS (2006) Inhibition of coral recruitment by macroalgae and cyanobacteria. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 323:107–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mumby PJ, Steneck RS (2008) Coral reef management and conservation in light of rapidly evolving ecological paradigms. Trends Ecol Evol 23:555–563CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Nozawa Y, Harrison PL (2005) Temporal settlement patterns of larvae of the broadcast spawning reef coral Favites chinensis and the broadcast spawning and brooding reef coral Goniastrea aspera from Okinawa, Japan. Coral Reefs 24:274–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Nugues MM, Szmant AM (2006) Coral settlement onto Halimeda opuntia: a fatal attraction to an ephemeral substrate? Coral Reefs 25:585–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nugues MM, Smith GW, Van Hooidonk RJ, Seabra MI, Bak RPM (2004) Algal contact as a trigger for coral disease. Ecol Lett 7:919–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Olsen K, Ritson-Williams R, Paul VJ, Ross C (2014) Combined effects of macroalgal presence and elevated temperature on the early life-history stages of a common Caribbean coral. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 509:181–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Olsen K, Paul VJ, Ross C (2015) Direct effects of elevated temperature, reduced pH and the presence of macroalgae (Dictyota spp.) on larvae of the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides. Bull Mar Sci 91:255–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Paul VJ, Van Alstyne KL (1992) Activation of chemical defenses in the tropical green algae Halimeda spp. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 160:191–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Paul VJ, Kuffner IB, Walters LJ, Ritson-Williams R, Beach KS, Becerro BA (2011) Chemically mediated interactions between macroalgae Dictyota spp. and multiple life-history stages of the coral Porites astreoides. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 426:161–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Price N (2010) Habitat selection, facilitation, and biotic settlement cues affect distribution and performance of coral recruits in French Polynesia. Oecologia 163:747–758CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Ritson-Williams R, Arnold SN, Fogarty ND, Steneck RS, Vermeij MJA, Paul VJ (2009) New perspectives on ecological mechanisms affecting coral recruitment on reefs. Smithson Contrib Mar Sci 38:437–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ritson-Williams R, Paul VJ, Arnold SN, Steneck RS (2010) Larval settlement preferences and post-settlement survival of the threatened Caribbean corals Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis. Coral Reefs 29:71–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ritson-Williams R, Arnold SN, Paul VJ, Steneck RS (2014) Larval settlement preferences of Acropora palmata and Montastrea faveolata in response to diverse red algae. Coral Reefs 33:59–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Roff G, Mumby PJ (2012) Global disparity in the resilience of coral reefs. Trends Ecol Evol 27:404–413CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Sneed JM, Sharp KH, Ritchie KB, Paul VJ (2014) The chemical cue tetrabromopyrrole from a biofilm bacterium induces settlement of multiple Caribbean corals. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 281:20133086CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Vermeij MJA, Smith JE, Smith CM, Vega Thurber R, Sandin SA (2009) Survival and settlement success of coral planulae: independent and synergistic effects of macroalgae and microbes. Oecologia 159:325–336CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Walters LJ, Smith CM, Coyer JA, Hunter CL, Beach KS, Vroom PS (2002) Asexual propagation in the coral reef macroalgae Halimeda (Chlorophyta, Bryopsidales): production, dispersal and attachment of small fragments. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 278:47–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smithsonian Marine StationFt. PierceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations