Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 1, pp 29–43 | Cite as

Seasonality in reproduction of the deep-water pennatulacean coral Anthoptilum grandiflorum

  • Sandrine BaillonEmail author
  • Jean-François Hamel
  • Vonda E. Wareham
  • Annie Mercier
Original Paper


The deep-sea pennatulacean coral Anthoptilum grandiflorum exhibits a cosmopolitan distribution and was recently determined to serve as habitat for other invertebrates and fish larvae in the northwest Atlantic. Colonies collected at bathyal depths between 2006 and 2010 in eastern Canada were analysed to determine their fecundity and characterize spatial and temporal trends in their reproductive cycle. Anthoptilum grandiflorum is a gonochoric broadcast spawner with a sex ratio that does not differ significantly from equality (although one hermaphrodite colony was observed). In male colonies, all the spermatocysts synthesized become mature over the annual cycle, while only ~21 % of the initial production of oocytes reaches maturity in female colonies. Female potential fecundity based on mature oocytes just before spawning was on average 13 oocytes polyp−1; male potential fecundity was 48 spermatocysts polyp−1. The spawning period of A. grandiflorum differs between geographic regions, from April (in southern Newfoundland) to July (in Labrador), closely following regional spring phytoplankton blooms after accounting for the deposition of planktic detritus. Release of oocytes by a live colony held in the laboratory was recorded in April 2011, coincident with field data for similar latitudes. Seawater temperatures at the time of spawning were around 3.6–4.8 °C in all regions and in the laboratory. Early stages of gametogenesis were detected in colonies collected shortly after the spawning season, and early and late growth stages occurred successively until December. Mature colonies were observed between April and July (depending on latitude). The diameter of mature oocytes (~1,100 μm maximum diameter) is consistent with lecithotrophic larval development.


Reproductive Cycle Mature Oocyte Potential Fecundity Hermaphroditism Mature Coloni 
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 the scientific staff of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard for helping us with sampling on board of the CCGS Teleost. We would also like to thank the ROPOS team for helping us collect the ROV data, and I. Dimitrove and K. Zipperlen for their assistance with histological processing. The constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers helped us improve this contribution. This study was partly funded by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to A. Mercier.

Supplementary material

227_2013_2311_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 4250 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandrine Baillon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-François Hamel
    • 2
  • Vonda E. Wareham
    • 3
  • Annie Mercier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ocean SciencesMemorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Society for the Exploration and Valuing of the Environment (SEVE)St. PhilipsCanada
  3. 3.Northwest Atlantic Fisheries CentreFisheries and Oceans CanadaSt. John’sCanada

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