The Reproductive Seasonality and Gametogenic Cycle of Acropora cervicornis off Broward County, Florida, USA
Acropora cervicornis, Gametogenesis, Sexual reproduction, Florida
Reproductive characters of the Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora cervicornis were investigated based on histological samples collected from April 2001 through October 2002. Oogenesis commenced in early to mid-October through November and spermatogenesis was initiated from January to March. The onset of gametogenesis was staggered, exhibiting up to approximately a 1-month delay within colonies. In the hermaphroditic polyps, the observed male-to-female gonad ratio was nearly 1:1 and ripe oocytes represented over 70% of the total gonadal volume. Fecundity estimates based on Stage IV ova ranged between 10.4 and 21.8 mm3 per square centimeter per year, comparable to A. cervicornis in Puerto Rico and other broadcasting Indo-Pacific Acropora. Fecundity estimates based on Stage III vitellogenic oocytes indicated statistically significant differences among study sites. Spawning in field conditions was observed in 2001, 2003, and 2004 from 2300 to 2330 h. Gamete release generally occurred synchronously between nights two and seven after the full moon of July or August. However in 2003, multiple, small-scale gamete release episodes occurred over more than one lunar cycle. This coincided with the full moon occurring early in the month of July. While prolific gamete production is reported in this study, low levels of recruitment have been reported for this species. Thus, the highly fragmenting A. cervicornis may rely heavily on asexual reproduction for population maintenance and expansion, and recovery after disturbance may be greatly protracted.
Bernardo Vargas-Ángel, Susan B. Colley, S. Michael Hoke, and James Darwin Thomas. 2006. The Reproductive Seasonality and Gametogenic Cycle of Acropora cervicornis off Broward County, Florida, USA .Coral Reefs , (1) : 110 -122. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/576.