[Coral-List] Hydrodynamic conditions during larval spawning (Coral-List Digest, Vol 66, Issue 4)

Curt Storlazzi cstorlazzi at usgs.gov
Wed Feb 5 13:42:57 EST 2014

Danker and others,

Although there are a number of papers and reports, some of which I will list below (Wolanski and others on the GBR, Lugo-Fernandez and others in the GoM, stuff from our group in Hawaii and the Marianas, etc), the hydrodynamics will likely vary greatly over relatively short distances due to the relative contribution of waves and wind- and tidally-driven currents to flow, which changes drastically on a single reef depending if you're on the deeper fore reef, shallower fore reef, reef crest, reef flat, back-reef lagoon, awa channel, etc. 

One paper I would definitely look at is Richmond and Hunter's (1990) review listed below of spawning times for corals around the world, which is rather enlightening, as it shows you that corals in different areas spawn during drastically different environmental conditions. At tidal timescales, some corals spawn during spring tides and thus are exposed to relatively stronger tidal currents, while other during neap tides and thus relatively weaker tidal currents. On the scale of ocean basins, in Hawaii, for example, most of the dominant reef-building corals spawn during the summer, which in the central north Pacific is dominated by consistent trade winds that result in relatively small waves (and thus wave-orbital velocities) but strong trade wind-driven currents. In the Marianas, on the other hand, many of the dominant reef-building corals spawn during the summer, but the western north Pacific is generally characterized by smaller waves and more variable winds and thus weaker currents (yes, intermittently punctuated by 200+ km/hr winds and 5-10 m waves during typhoons) during this time frame. So even thought many corals spawn in the Hawaiian and Mariana Islands during the northern hemisphere's summer, those in Hawaii are exposed to relatively stronger currents than those in the Marianas. So there is not an easy, “Oh, it’s XX cm/s here and YY cm/s there…” answer.

Please see below for some, but in no way a comprehensive list, of peer-reviewed papers that provide measurements of hydrodynamics (either measured or modeled) during coral spawning events:

Lugo-Fernandez A, Deslarzes KJP, Price JM, Boland GS, Morin MV (2001) Inferring probable larval dispersal of Flower Garden Banks coral larvae (Gulf of Mexico) using observed and simulated drifter trajectories. Cont Shelf Res 21:47-67

Oliver JK, King BA, Willis BL, Babcock RC, Wolanski E (1992) Dispersal of coral larvae from a lagoonal reef- II: Comparisons between model predictions and observed concentrations. Cont Shelf Res 12:873–889

Presto MK, Storlazzi CD, Logan JB, Reiss TE, Rosenberger KJ (2012) Coastal circulation and potential coral-larval dispersal in Maunalua Bay, O‘ahu, Hawaii—Measurements of waves, currents, temperature, and salinity, June–September 2010. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1040, 67 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1040/

Richmond RH, Hunter CL (1990) Reproduction and recruitment of corals: Comparisons among the Caribbean, the tropical Pacific, and the Red Sea. Mar Ecol-Prog Ser 60:185-203

Storlazzi CD, Brown EK, Field ME (2006) The application of acoustic Doppler current profilers to measure the timing and patterns of coral larval dispersal. Coral Reefs 25:369-381

Storlazzi CD, Field ME, Cheriton OM, Presto MK, Logan JB (2013) Rapid fluctuations in flow and water-column properties in Asan Bay, Guam: Implications for selective resilience of coral reefs in warming seas. Coral Reefs 32: 949-961.

Willis BL, Oliver JK (1988) Inter-reef dispersal of coral larvae following the annual mass spawning on the Great Barrier Reef. Proc 6th Int Coral Reef Symp 2:853–859

Wolanski E, Burrage D, King B (1989) Trapping and dispersion of coral eggs around Bowden Reef, Great Barrier Reef, following mass coral spawning. Cont Shelf Res 9:479–496


Curt Storlazzi, Ph.D.
U.S. Geological Survey
Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
400 Natural Bridges Drive
Santa Cruz, CA  95060
(831) 460-7521 phone       <<< NEW #
(831) 427-4748 fax

Staff web page:

On Feb 5, 2014, at 7:18 AM, <coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 13:15:29 +0100
> From: Danker Kolijn <dankerkolijn at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Coral-List] Hydrodynamic conditions during larval spawning
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Dear Coral list,
> I plan to model artificial coral elements in a wave flume for my MSc
> thesis. I want to study the hydrodynamics in the viscous sub-layer of the
> coral structure to determine some of the factors contributing to successful
> larval settling. Ideally I would like to send hydrodynamic conditions
> through my flume which are typicl for spawning events (these occur at very
> particular times). I have already reviewd the papers below. I am wondering,
> does anyone have field-data or knows of papers of the types of conditions
> (wave, current, tide etc.), during larval spawning events? Any help is much
> appreciated.
> Koehl M. A. R.  and Hadfield M. G., (2004) "Soluble Settlement Cue In
> Slowly-Moving Water Within Coral Reefs Induces Larval Adhesion To
> Surfaces", . J. Mar. Syst. 49: 75-88.
> Koehl M. A. R. (2007) "Mini Review: Hydrodynamics Of Larval Settlement Into
> Fouling Communities", Biofouling, 2007; 23(5): 357 - 368
> Crimaldi J.P., Janet K. T., Rosman J. H., Lowe R. J., and Koseff J. R.
> (2002), "Hydrodynamics Of Larval Settlement: The Influence Of Turbulent
> Stress Events At Potential Recruitment Sites", limnol. Oceanogr., 47(4),
> 2002, 1137-1151
> Regards,
> -- 
> *Danker Kolijn *
> Student number: 4147154
> Rotterdamseweg 139 A-22
> 2628AL Delft
> The Netherlands
> D.J.Kolijn at student.tudelft.nl
> tel.: 0653751996

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