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Latitudinal variation in monthly-scale reproductive synchrony among Acropora coral assemblages in the Indo-Pacific

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Alasdair Edwards, Dr James Guest



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.Early research into coral reproductive biology suggested that spawning synchrony was driven by variations in the amplitude of environmental variables that are correlated with latitude, with synchrony predicted to break down at lower latitudes. More recent research has revealed that synchronous spawning, both within and among species, is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. Nonetheless, considerable variation in reproductive synchrony exists among locations and the hypothesis that the extent of spawning synchrony is correlated with latitude has not been formally tested on a large scale. Here, we use data from 90 sites throughout the Indo-Pacific and a quantitative index of reproductive synchrony applied at a monthly scale to demonstrate that, despite considerable spatial and temporal variation, there is no correlation between latitude and reproductive synchrony. Considering the critical role that successful reproduction plays in the persistence and recovery of coral reefs, research is urgently needed to understand the drivers underpinning variation in reproductive synchrony.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bouwmeester J, Edwards AJ, Guest JR, Bauman AG, Berumen ML, Baird AH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Coral Reefs

Year: 2021

Volume: 40

Pages: 1411-1418

Online publication date: 15/06/2021

Acceptance date: 31/05/2021

Date deposited: 10/08/2021

ISSN (print): 0722-4028

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0975

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH


DOI: 10.1007/s00338-021-02129-3


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