Temporal patterns of larval settlement and survivorship of two broadcast-spawning acroporid corals
Harrison, PL & Nozaway, Y, 'Temporal patterns of larval settlement and survivorship of two broadcast-spawning acroporid corals', Marine Biology: international journal on life in oceans and coastal waters, vol. 155, no. 3, pp. 347-351.
Acroporid corals are the main reef-building corals that provide three-dimensional habitats for other reef organisms, but are decreasing on many reefs worldwide due to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. In this study, temporal patterns of larval settlement and survivorship of two broadcast-spawning acroporid coral species, Acropora muricata and A. valida, were examined through laboratory rearing experiments to better understand the potential for larval dispersal of this important coral group. Many larvae were attached (but not metamorphosed) to settlement tiles on the first examination 3–4 days after spawning (AS). The first permanent larval settlement (i.e. metamorphosed and permanently settled juvenile polyps) occurred at 5–6 days AS, and most larval settlement (85–97% of total) occurred within 9–10 days AS. Larval survivorship decreased substantially to around 50% by the first week of the experiment and to approximately 10% by the second to third week. The rates of larval attachment, settlement, and the initial drop in survivorship of larvae suggest that effective dispersal of some acroporid species may largely be completed within the first few weeks AS.