Broadcast-spawning scleractinian corals annually release their gametes with high levels of synchrony, both within and among species. However, the timing of spawning can vary inter-annually. In particular, the night of spawning relative to the full moon phase can vary considerably among years at some locations. Although multiple environmental factors can affect the night of spawning, their effects have not been quantitatively assessed at the multi-regional level. In this study, we analysed environmental factors that are potentially correlated with spawning day deviation, in relation to the full moon phase, in Acropora corals inhabiting seven reefs in Australia and Japan. We accordingly found that sea surface temperature and wind speed within one to two months prior to the full moon of the spawning month were strongly correlated with spawning day deviations. In addition, solar flux had a weak effect on the night of spawning. These findings indicate that Acropora have the capacity to adjust their development and physiology in response to environmental factors for fine-tuning the timing of synchronous spawning, thereby maximizing reproductive success and post-fertilization survival.
- Coral reef
- Full moon
- Sea surface temperature
- Spawning synchrony
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)