Marine Biology

, Volume 146, Issue 5, pp 937–942 | Cite as

Innovative substrate tiles to spatially control larval settlement in coral culture

  • D. Petersen
  • M. Laterveer
  • H. Schuhmacher
Research Article


We designed settlement tiles for coral culture with the aims: (1) to attract and (2) to spatially control settlement and (3) to produce substrate units for further handling in mariculture. Ceramic tiles with vertical (i.e. pyramid tile; truncated pyramid shape, 22.0×22.0, ±1.0 mm, L×W) and horizontal surfaces (i.e. flat tile; 17.0×17.0, ±1.0 mm, L×W) were temporarily arranged chessboard-like in a polystyrene grid. Surfaces of both types were structured with grooves (width and depth 2.0±0.1 mm). Material analysis by ICP and photospectrometry showed negative influences on water chemistry when new tiles were directly used; high contents of heavy metals could be detected depending on the production process. Planulae of Acropora tenuis (16.3±3.1% settlement) preferred to settle in the grooves of pyramid tiles with a density of 0.19±0.03 to 0.44±0.06 settlers cm−2, whereas those of Favia fragum (60.7±13.3% settlement) showed high preferences for the grooves of flat tiles (0.48±0.22 to 1.05±0.44 settlers cm−2). Settlement occurred exclusively on surfaces with a biofilm (turf and crustose coralline algae) and was independent of available substrate surface area, whereas the number of tiles per set-up influenced the density of settlers per unit. Spatial control of settlement was achieved through tile design and arrangement. Tiles with settlers could be easily separated for further use in coral culture.


Settlement Rate Larval Settlement Crustose Coralline Alga Ceramic Tile Coral Skeleton 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. R. Smits (K&S Decor, Breda, The Netherlands) produced the tiles. M. Hatta provided larvae of Acropora tenuis, D. van Bergen and M. Kuenen supported the collection of Favia fragum. M. Mutapčić carried out photospectrometric analysis and F. Hazewinkel helped with the lay-out of the manuscript. The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) authorities of Japan, Netherlands Antilles and The Netherlands are acknowledged for their permission to transport coral larvae. D.P. was supported by a scholarship program of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rotterdam ZooRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology, Department of HydrobiologyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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