Species-specific trends in the reproductive output of corals across environmental gradients and bleaching histories

Emily J. Howells, Remi N. Ketchum, Andrew G. Bauman, Yasmine Mustafa, Kristina D. Watkins, John Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Coral populations in the Persian Gulf have a reputation for being some of the toughest in the world yet little is known about the energetic constraints of living under temperature and salinity extremes. Energy allocation for sexual reproduction in Gulf corals was evaluated relative to conspecifics living under milder environmental conditions in the Oman Sea. Fecundity was depressed at Gulf sites in two Indo-Pacific merulinid species (Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea) but not in a regionally endemic acroporid (Acropora downingi). Gulf populations of each species experienced high temperature bleaching at the onset of gametogenesis in the study but fecundity was only negatively impacted in P. daedalea and A. downingi. Large population sizes of C. microphthalma and P. daedalea in the Gulf are expected to buffer reductions on colony-level fecundity. However, depleted population sizes of A. downingi at some Gulf sites equate to low reef-wide fecundity and likely impede outcrossing success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-539
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 30 2016



  • Acropora
  • Cyphastrea
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Marginal reefs
  • Persian gulf
  • Platygyra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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