Coral spawning in Key Largo (fwd)

Coral Health and Monitoring Program coral at
Thu Sep 12 08:57:42 EDT 1996

---------- Forwarded message ---------- 
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 22:33:32 -0800 (PST) 
From: Aileen Morse <a_morse at> 
To: coral at 
Subject: RE: Coral spawning in Key Largo 

I was on the NOAA vessel at this site on both 9/3 and 9/4.  We were netting 
coral heads to collect egg bundles.  On 9/3 there were only egg bundles in 2 
of our collecting vessels (none in any of our others, or in those put out by 
Prof. Alina Szmant's group).  The 2 colonies that released on that night 
were both A. annularis.  Then on 9/4 we and Alina's group both collected 
multiple releases from both A. annularis and A. faveolata colonies. 
Collections by both groups indicated that more A. annularis 
colonies went off than A. faveolata.  But in neither case could the number 
of colonies releasing be considered a "major" spawn. 
Our aim was to fertilize large numbers of gametes from both species and also 
to try an inter-species cross fertilization. In this we were successful. 
However, both research groups observed that there was an unusually high 
heterogeneity in the early stages of larval development for both species 
(and in our cross).  I cannot speak further for Alina's results, only our 
own.  By the second day the cultures of A. faveolata became much more 
homogeneous with respect to developmental stage, as did the cross, and have 
remained so.  However, the cultures of A. annularis remain highly 
heterogeneous and have developed much more slowly (even the most advanced 
stages).  Although fertilization success appeared to be relatively high, 
development of subsequent larval stages seems to be relatively retarded. 

As to your question re. the white substance being released fron colonies, 
perhaps this was coral mucus.  Corals tend to respond to "stress" by mucus 
release.  When working with my Japanese colleagues at their lab off Okinawa 
colonies were placed in containers for egg bundle release.  Very commonly 
coral mucus is seen mixed in with the bundles.  Anyway that is my best 
guess.    Best regards,  Aileen Morse 
Aileen N.C. Morse 
Marine Biotechnology Center 
Marine Science Institute 
University of California 
Santa Barbara, CA 93106 

PHONE:  805-893-4277 
FAX:    805-893-8062 
E-mail: a_morse at 

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