Coral spawning in the Gulf of Oman and relationship to latitudinal variation in spawning season in the northwest Indian Ocean

E. J. Howells, D. Abrego, G. O. Vaughan, John Burt

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Abstract

Despite a wealth of information on sexual reproduction in scleractinian corals, there are regional gaps in reproductive records. In the Gulf of the Oman in the Arabian Sea, reproductive timing was assessed in four common species of broadcast spawning corals using field surveys of gamete maturity and aquarium observations of spawning activity. The appearance of mature gametes within the same month for Acropora downingi, A. hemprichii, Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea (≥ 75% of colonies, n = 848) indicated a synchronous and multi-specific spawning season. Based on gamete disappearance and direct observations, spawning predominantly occurred during April in 2013 (75- 100% of colonies) and May in 2014 (77-94% of colonies). The difference in spawning months between survey years was most likely explained by sea temperature and the timing of lunar cycles during late-stage gametogenesis. These reproductive records are consistent with a latitudinal gradient in peak broadcast spawning activity at reefs in the northwestern Indian Ocean which occurs early in the year at low latitudes (January to March) and progressively later in the year at mid (March to May) and high (June to September) latitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7484
JournalScientific Reports
Volume4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2014

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