Temporal settlement patterns of larvae of the broadcast spawning reef coral Favites chinensis and the broadcast spawning and brooding reef coral Goniastrea aspera from Okinawa, Japan
Nozawa, Y & Harrison, PL 2005, 'Temporal settlement patterns of larvae of the broadcast spawning reef coral Favites chinensis and the broadcast spawning and brooding reef coral Goniastrea aspera from Okinawa, Japan', Coral Reefs, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 274-282.
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The faviid corals, Favites chinensis and Goniastrea aspera are widely distributed in the IndoPacific region. Both corals are hermaphroditic broadcast spawners, but G. aspera is also known to brood planula larvae in Okinawa. This study investigated the temporal settlement patterns of planula larvae of the scleractinian corals F. chinensis and G. aspera that developed from spawned gametes, and planula release and settlement of brooded larvae of G. aspera from Okinawa, Japan. Some of the broadcast-spawned larvae of F. chinensis and G. aspera had very short pre-competency periods of 1–2 and 2–3 days after spawning, and relatively long maximum settlement-competency periods of 56–63 and 63–70 days after spawning, respectively. These precompetency periods are among the shortest reported for larvae of broadcast spawning coral species, and appear to be negatively correlated with seawater temperature. F. chinensis larvae tended to settle rapidly with 34–39% of larvae settling in the first week after spawning, while broadcast-spawned G. aspera larvae had a slower settlement pattern with 11–15% of larvae settling in the first week after spawning. Brooded larvae of G. aspera settled more rapidly, with settlement rates of 27–31% within the first 24 h and 45–65% within the first week after the start of the experiment. The production of planula larvae with rapid settlement capabilities may enable F. chinensis and G. aspera to establish and maintain populations in shallow reef sites at Okinawa. The release of the brooded planulae for up to 2 months may explain why G. aspera is locally more dominant on shallow reefs in Okinawa than F. chinensis. On a broader scale, the longer settlement competency periods of some of the broadcast-spawned larvae of these species increase their potential for longer-distance dispersal and may partly explain the wide biogeographic distribution of these species in the Indo-Pacific region.