[Coral-List] Great spawn by Montastraea faveolata in la Parguera

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Sat Sep 12 18:24:47 EDT 2009

Hello All:

We went out to collect spawn from M faveolata from Turrumote Reef, La Parguera, PR, the nights of September 10 and 11, 2009.  On the 10th, there was bundle formation by only a few colonies at ca. 9:45 to 10:15 pm and we collected a small amount of spawn from only 2 colonies.

On Sept 11, bundle formation began again ca. 9:45 pm with bundle release beginning at ca. 10:10 pm until past 10:30 pm.  It was a massive spawn with most colonies releasing large amounts of spawn from most of the colony.  The water was full of bundles and there was a surface slick of bundles (it helped that the weather was good).

This is particularly good news for this reef area which was hit hard by the 2005 severe warming event that impacted the PR and USVI areas.  In 2005 we had massive spawning on this reef,  and were able to culture large numbers (>>10^5) larvae that settled well in our experiments.  But soon afterwards the colonies severely bleached during the 2005 warming event.  Many suffered partial (or total) mortality, and survivors were hit hard by yellow band disease (monitoring program by Dr. Ernesto Weil).  In 2006 they basically did not spawn and Weil found they were not forming gametes.  In 2007, we were in México, but I think I was told there was a minimal spawn that year.  In 2008, we got a modest amount of spawn from several of the colonies, but the eggs were small and the embryos did not develop well.  We got almost no settlement compared to >80 % in years past.

This year so far (less than 24 hrs) the cultures seem to be doing very well..  This massive spawning suggests that even though the percent live cover by M. faveolata on the Parguera reefs is extremely low compared to the pre-1987 (and really, even pre-1998) levels, that the survivors appear to be making a come back.

As an aside, large Diadema were everywhere last night on the Turrumote fore-reef, and I saw some small ones as well.  In areas they were at > 1 m2.  They were crawling over the corals and grazing the edges.

Best wishes,

Alina Szmant

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Coral Reef Research Group
UNCW-Center for Marine Science
5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409
Tel: (910)962-2362 & Fax:  (910)962-2410
Cell:  (910)200-3913
email:  szmanta at uncw.edu
Web Page:  http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta

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