Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 2187–2192 | Cite as

Coral spawning and spawn-slick observation in the Philippines

  • Emmeline A. Jamodiong
  • Elizaldy A. Maboloc
  • Janice C. Leriorato
  • Mikhael Clotilde S. Tañedo
  • Leomir A. Diaz
  • Tracy D. Tabalanza
  • Patrick C. Cabaitan
  • Ronald D. Villanueva
Short Communication


Knowledge on coral reproduction has implications for the restoration and recovery of degraded coral communities. Few studies on coral spawning timing and extent of synchrony have been recorded in the most biodiverse and disturbed coral reef ecosystems of the Coral Triangle. In the present study, the reproductive timing in 2015 and 2016 is reported of an Acropora assemblage in Magsaysay reef, Bolinao-Anda Reef Complex, northwestern Philippines. Fertile colonies were present in February and March, with highest abundance 6 days after full moon. All sampled colonies of five Acropora species were fertile on 12 March 2015 and 73–100% of six Acropora species on 29 February 2016. Other species had fewer mature colonies (40 and 33% respectively), suggesting that these may spawn in other times of the year. Synchrony in gamete development and mass spawning were exhibited among species. At least eight Acropora species were observed spawning between 9 to 11 days after full moon in March of 2015 and 2016. Mass spawning resulted in spawn slicks, which were dispersed by the current generated by the ebbing tides and winds. This observation suggests that the Magsaysay reef may be an important source of larvae that may recruit unto nearby reefs, which could potentially initiate recovery of degraded coral communities.


Acropora Coral reefs Coral Triangle Synchronous spawning Spawn slick 



We thank C.A. Angelito, R.C. de Guzman, M.M. Ponce, J.I. Castrence, R.A. Uriarte, R. Alfonso, D.J. Cabactulan, A.M. Panisales, C.A. Ligson, boatmen and volunteer divers from Bolinao Marine Laboratory for their valuable assistance in the logistics and field works. This study is dedicated to the late R.D. Villanueva, who revitalized the research program on coral reproduction and whose great love for the country provides inspiration to the authors and students. This manuscript was greatly improved with the suggestions provided by the editor and four anonymous reviewers. The study was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology. This is UPMSI contribution no. 451.

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Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 28 kb)
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ESM 4 (PDF 164 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmeline A. Jamodiong
    • 1
  • Elizaldy A. Maboloc
    • 1
    • 2
  • Janice C. Leriorato
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mikhael Clotilde S. Tañedo
    • 1
  • Leomir A. Diaz
    • 1
  • Tracy D. Tabalanza
    • 1
  • Patrick C. Cabaitan
    • 1
  • Ronald D. Villanueva
    • 1
  1. 1.The Marine Science InstituteUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezonPhilippines
  2. 2.Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyKowloonHong Kong
  3. 3.Graduate School of Kuroshio ScienceKochi UniversityNankokuJapan

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