Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 9, pp 1917–1932 | Cite as

Reef coral reproduction in the equatorial eastern Pacific: Costa Rica, Panamá, and the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador). VII. Siderastreidae, Psammocora stellata and Psammocora profundacella

  • P. W. GlynnEmail author
  • S. B. Colley
  • J. L. Maté
  • I. B. Baums
  • J. S. Feingold
  • J. Cortés
  • H. M. Guzmán
  • J. C. Afflerbach
  • V. W. Brandtneris
  • J. S. Ault
Original Paper


Two zooxanthellate, scleractinian species present in the equatorial eastern Pacific, Psammocora stellata and Psammocora profundacella, were examined in terms of their reproductive biology and ecology at four study sites, non-upwelling (Caño Island, Costa Rica, and Uva Island, Panamá), upwelling (Gulf of Panamá, Panamá), and seasonally varying thermal environments (Galápagos Islands). Both species were gonochoric broadcast spawners lacking zooxanthellae in mature ova. Mature gametes and spawned gonads are present around full moon; however, no spawning was observed naturally or in outdoor aquaria. Mature gametes occurred in P. stellata at Caño Island for nearly 6 months, and year round at Uva Island, both non-upwelling sites. Reproductively active colonies occurred mostly in the warmer months in the Gulf of Panamá and Galápagos Islands. In the Galápagos Islands, where collecting effort was greatest for P. profundacella, mature gametes were also most prevalent during the warm season. Annual fecundity was high in both species, 1.3–1.8 × 104 ova cm−2 year−1 in P. stellata and 1.2–2.0 × 104 ova cm−2 year−1 in P. profundacella. Compared to other eastern Pacific corals, P. stellata was relatively resistant to ENSO-related bleaching and mortality, especially populations inhabiting deep (12–20 m) coral communities. Rapid recovery and persistence of Psammocora spp. can be attributed to several factors: (a) relative resistance to bleaching, (b) deep refuge populations, (c) broadcast spawning, (d) protracted seasonal reproduction, (e) high fecundity, and (f) asexual propagation.


Full Moon Mature Ovum Live Coral Cover Mature Gonad Broadcast Spawner 
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 Adrienne M. S. Correa, Peggy Fong, Christiane Hueerkamp, Priscilla Martínez, and Fernando Rivera for help in the field, and Rebecca Ball-Bailey, Kathy Black, Kathryn Brown, Erin Kapostasy, Susan Laessig, Alison Moulding, Juan Peña, David Smith, Joy H Ting, Bonnie Tucker, and Joyce A Yager for various analytical tasks in the laboratory. Francesca Benzoni kindly assisted in the identification of Psammocora species. The following host countries, agencies, and institutions granted permission and variously assisted during the course of this study: Costa Rica, Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR), Universidad de Costa Rica, and Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación, Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía; Panamá, Departamento de Biología Acuática (Universidad de Panamá), Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM), and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Ecuador, Charles Darwin Research Station, and the Galápagos National Park Service. Research support was provided by the U. S. National Science Foundation, Biological Oceanography Program, grant OCE-0526361 and earlier awards.

Supplementary material

227_2012_1979_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14850 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. Glynn
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. B. Colley
    • 2
  • J. L. Maté
    • 3
  • I. B. Baums
    • 4
  • J. S. Feingold
    • 5
  • J. Cortés
    • 6
  • H. M. Guzmán
    • 3
  • J. C. Afflerbach
    • 1
  • V. W. Brandtneris
    • 1
  • J. S. Ault
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Louisiana Applied Coastal Engineering and Science DivisionOffice of Coastal Protection and RestorationBaton RougeUSA
  3. 3.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboa, AnconRepublic of Panamá
  4. 4.Department of BiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic CenterDania BeachUSA
  6. 6.Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR), and Escuela de Biología, Ciudad de InvestigaciónUniversidad de Costa Rica, San PedroSan JoséCosta Rica

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