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Variation in larval properties of the Atlantic brooding coral Porites astreoides between different reef sites in Bermuda

TitleVariation in larval properties of the Atlantic brooding coral Porites astreoides between different reef sites in Bermuda
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
Authorsde Putron S.J, Lawson J.M, White K.QL, Costa M.T, Geronimus M.VB, MacCarthy A.
JournalCoral Reefs
Date Published2017/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0722-4028
Accession NumberWOS:000401627400003
Keywordsacropora; coral; larvae; life-histories; marine-invertebrates; planula; pocillopora-damicornis; Porites astreoides; recruitment; release; reproduction; settlement; size; Size variation; temperature

Recent research has documented phenotypic differences among larvae released from corals with a brooding reproductive mode, both among species and within broods from a single species. We studied larvae released from the common Atlantic coral Porites astreoides in Bermuda to further evaluate phenotypic variability. Inter-site differences were investigated in larvae from conspecifics at a rim and patch reef site. Larvae were collected daily for one lunar cycle from several colonies per site each year over 5 yr. Larval volume varied with reef site of origin, with colonies from the rim reef site producing larger larvae than colonies from the patch reef site. This inter-site variation in larval size could not be explained by corallite size and may be a response to different environmental conditions at the sites. Larvae from both reef sites also varied in size depending on lunar day of release over 4 yr of study. Regardless of site of origin, smaller larvae were released earlier in the lunar cycle. Over 1 yr of study, lipid and zooxanthellae content and settlement success after 48 h covaried with larval size. However, there may be a trade-off between larger larvae and reduced fecundity. Overall, larvae released from colonies from the rim reef site were larger and had greater settlement success than those from colonies from the patch reef site. This study documents larval phenotypic variability and a distinct inter-site difference in larval ecology among conspecifics within the same geographic area, which may have implications for recruitment success, population dynamics, and resilience.

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