Can artificial substrates enriched with crustose coralline algae enhance larval settlement and recruitment in the fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa)?
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Habitat recognition and selection can greatly increase the early-life survival of sessile reef organisms. This study describes the settlement and recruitment responses of the fluted giant clam, Tridacna squamosa, to concrete tablets and tiles containing different concentrations of crustose coralline algae covered coral rubble (CCACR). Crustose coralline algae is known to induce settlement in a variety benthic animals, but it has not been used previously as an aggregate in concrete—potentially a way of encouraging colonization of man-made structures erected on or near coral reefs. After being given the choice of small tablets made with 0%, 30% or 60% CCACR for 4 days, 11 days old larvae preferred the substrate containing the most CCACR. Recruitment responses of juvenile clams to larger tiles made with the same three CCACR concentrations were also tested. These tiles were further divided into rough and smooth surface textures. After 6 weeks, more juvenile clams had recruited to the rough surfaced tiles than the smooth ones, but no significant differences among the CCACR treatments were found. Thus, even though concrete made with CCACR is initially attractive to larvae, it has no effect on recruitment of juvenile T. squamosa.
KeywordsArtificial substrates CCA Giant clam larvae Recruitment Settlement Tridacna squamosa Coral rubble Singapore
Many thanks to Huang Danwei, Loke Chok Kang, James Guest, members of the Marine Biology Laboratory, the crew of the Mudskipper and staff at the Tropical Marine Science Institute. This research is supported by Singapore’s Ministry of Education’s AcRF Tier 1 funding: grant number R-154-000-280-112.
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