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Contrasting reproductive strategies between stress-tolerant and competitive coral taxa

Lookup NU author(s): Dr James Guest



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


© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to International Coral Reef Society (ICRS).Reproductive traits such as fecundity (i.e., the number of gametes produced) and the size and age of coral colonies at reproductive onset can vary in predictable ways among life history strategies. However, most studies on the onset of reproductive maturity in corals only report the presence or absence of oocytes with little known about variation in fecundity across size and age classes. This study aimed to determine the colony size and fecundity at the onset of reproductive maturity across size classes of two scleractinian corals with contrasting life history strategies, Acropora millepora (competitive) and Favites colemani (stress-tolerant). Colonies at a site in northwestern Philippines were sampled to determine the smallest colony size class with mature oocytes and to estimate fecundity across size classes. Histological slides were also prepared to verify the presence of mature gametes. Colonies were able to produce mature oocytes when they had attained colony diameters of 4.7 cm for A. millepora and 1.5 cm for F. colemani. A. millepora had lower fecundity, but larger oocytes compared to F. colemani. Although small colonies can contribute to the larval pool, the proportion of mature colonies increased for larger size classes, suggesting that larger colonies make a disproportionately greater contribution to population reproductive output. These findings contribute to our understanding of coral population dynamics, particularly in parameterizing population and demographic models for different coral life histories.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bonilla KG, Guest JR, Baria-Rodriguez MV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Coral Reefs

Year: 2023

Volume: 42

Pages: 717-728

Print publication date: 01/06/2023

Online publication date: 19/04/2023

Acceptance date: 03/04/2023

Date deposited: 13/06/2023

ISSN (print): 0722-4028

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0975

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00338-023-02380-w

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/jcqk-z028


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