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Reproductive ecology of a deep-water scleractinian coral, Oculina varicosa from the South East Florida Shelf

Reproductive ecology of a deep-water scleractinian coral, Oculina varicosa from the South East Florida Shelf
Reproductive ecology of a deep-water scleractinian coral, Oculina varicosa from the South East Florida Shelf

The Ivory Tree Coral Oculina varicosa, forms extensive bioherms (reefs) of azooxanthellate colonies at depths of 70-100m along the edge of the Florida Hatteras slope. Deepwater Oculina reefs support invertebrate and fish communities as diverse as those of tropical coral reefs, and are a critical spawning habitat for a number of commercial fisheries species. A different morphological variant of O. varicosa inhabits the near-shore limestone ledges, and these shallow-water colonies were included in the study as an ecological comparison of conspecific populations exploiting different habitats, as a preliminary reproductive model for the less accessible deep reefs. Colonies from the two populations were confirmed as conspecific using Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) sequences of the nuclear ribosomal gene from deep and shallow colonies.

Growth rates (skeletal deposition) of samples from both populations were measured under varying temperature and light regimes. The results showed a significant difference between the two populations under different light conditions. Temperature had no significant effect on growth however. This warrants further investigation, since photosynthetically enhanced calcification did confer an advantage to the shallow zooxanthellate samples, but temperature had no consistent effect on calcium deposition.

Oculina varicosa is a gonochoristic broadcast spawning species, with small eggs (<100mm) and a high fecundity of approximately 4,000-8,000 eggs per cm-2 of skeletal surface area for both populations. The gametogenic cycle begins in the early summer and spawning occurs during late summer and fall, with no obvious relationship to lunar or tidal phase. Histological analysis of gonad sections revealed concurrent gametogenic cycles in both populations; however, the deeper populations generally spawned later (September) than their shallow counterparts (July-August).

University of Southampton
Brooke, Sandra D
544de2e3-5622-460e-a4a3-594dbc24c07a
Brooke, Sandra D
544de2e3-5622-460e-a4a3-594dbc24c07a

Brooke, Sandra D (2002) Reproductive ecology of a deep-water scleractinian coral, Oculina varicosa from the South East Florida Shelf. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The Ivory Tree Coral Oculina varicosa, forms extensive bioherms (reefs) of azooxanthellate colonies at depths of 70-100m along the edge of the Florida Hatteras slope. Deepwater Oculina reefs support invertebrate and fish communities as diverse as those of tropical coral reefs, and are a critical spawning habitat for a number of commercial fisheries species. A different morphological variant of O. varicosa inhabits the near-shore limestone ledges, and these shallow-water colonies were included in the study as an ecological comparison of conspecific populations exploiting different habitats, as a preliminary reproductive model for the less accessible deep reefs. Colonies from the two populations were confirmed as conspecific using Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) sequences of the nuclear ribosomal gene from deep and shallow colonies.

Growth rates (skeletal deposition) of samples from both populations were measured under varying temperature and light regimes. The results showed a significant difference between the two populations under different light conditions. Temperature had no significant effect on growth however. This warrants further investigation, since photosynthetically enhanced calcification did confer an advantage to the shallow zooxanthellate samples, but temperature had no consistent effect on calcium deposition.

Oculina varicosa is a gonochoristic broadcast spawning species, with small eggs (<100mm) and a high fecundity of approximately 4,000-8,000 eggs per cm-2 of skeletal surface area for both populations. The gametogenic cycle begins in the early summer and spawning occurs during late summer and fall, with no obvious relationship to lunar or tidal phase. Histological analysis of gonad sections revealed concurrent gametogenic cycles in both populations; however, the deeper populations generally spawned later (September) than their shallow counterparts (July-August).

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Published date: 2002

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 464745
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/464745
PURE UUID: 7474dd75-ba34-4e9d-9604-e8f9e6be39bf

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Date deposited: 04 Jul 2022 23:59
Last modified: 05 Jul 2022 03:02

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Author: Sandra D Brooke

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