[Coral-List] coral spawning in the Florida Keys

Howard R. Lasker hlasker at buffalo.edu
Tue Aug 17 14:15:06 EDT 2004

Mark and company have provided some great information, but I would like 
to make one amendment to the report so that it does not become a 
citation that Plexaura flexuosa is a brooder. 

The elongate objects that Mark reports being released by gorgonians were 
probably eggs.  Plexaura flexuosa is a gonochoric, broadcast spawner 
(Beiring, EA, & Lasker, HR, 2000, Mar Ecol Prog Ser 196:169-177).  In 
other species, I have observed eggs released with a long thin form which 
to the eye look like planulae. They revert to spheres once they are in 
the water column, and when examined under magnification are invariably 

The same is probably true for the unidentified Eunicea, as all of the 
plexaurids examined to date have been broadcast spawners and the only 
Eunicea sp. that I have observed spawn was releasing eggs.  Brooding is 
known among some gorgonaceans but is not known in plexaurids, nor in any 
of the Caribbean species.  There are some species in other families in 
the Caribbean that surface brood (i.e. Briareum asbestinum, 
Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae and P. bipinnata).

I have add the caveat that I wasn't there for this spawning event -- but 
I would be very surprised if they were planulae.

Howard Lasker

Mark Vermeij wrote:

>Dear List,
>Saturday August 7:  Earlier 
>the same night (around 22h00) mearly all gorgonians of the species  
>Plexaura flexuosa and a Eunicea sp. were observed releasing what 
>looked like 1mm long planulae/embryo's. 
>Dr. M. Vermeij
>Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS)
>Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS, 
>University of Miami)
>NOAA Southeast Science Fisheries Center 
>75 Virginia Beach Dr
>Miami, FL 33149 U.S.A.
>mark.vermeij at noaa.gov
>tel +1 305 3614230
>tel +1 305 3614609
>fax +1 305 3614499
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

Howard R. Lasker
Department of Biological Sciences
635 Hochstetter Hall
University at Buffalo    (State University of New York at Buffalo)
Buffalo, NY 14260

phone:       (716) 645-2363 x 184
fax:         (716) 645-2975

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