Sexual reproduction of scleractinian corals

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Harrison, PL 2011, 'Sexual reproduction of scleractinian corals' in Z Dubinsky & N Stambler (eds), Coral reefs: an ecosystem in transition, Springer, Netherlands, pp. 59-85. ISBN: 9789400701137

Published version available from


Sexual reproduction by scleractinian reef corals is important for maintaining coral populations and evolutionary processes. The ongoing global renaissance in coral reproduction research is providing a wealth of new information on this topic, and has almost doubled the global database on coral reproductive patterns during the past two decades. Information on sexual reproduction is now available for 444 scleractinian species, and confirms that hermaphroditic broadcast spawning is the dominant pattern among coral species studied to date. Relatively few hermaphroditic or gonochoric brooding species have been recorded. Multispecific coral spawning has been recorded on many reefs, but the degree of reproductive synchrony varies greatly within and among species at different geographic locations.