- Sexual reproduction,
- Marginal environment,
At high latitudes (>25°), sexual reproduction and the maintenance of coral populations can be impaired by marginal environmental conditions. However, little is known about sexual reproduction of many coral species at high latitude on the northern-most extension of the Florida Reef Tract. This study aimed to histologically characterize the reproductive ecology of Siderastrea siderea, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida (26°N). Tissue samples of S. siderea were collected semi-monthly to multiweekly from August to November in 2007 and 2008. Spawning was inferred from gametogenesis and oocyte resorption was observed in detail. Environmental variables including temperature and lunar cycle were examined for relationship with potential spawning times. Based on the histological evidence, we infer that spawning likely occurred primarily in October. Gametogenesis in this species is likely mediated by seasonal temperature variation, whereas lunar cycle could act as finer scale environmental cue for coordination of spawning. Our findings highlight that S. siderea spawning occurs later in the year compared to other populations of this species throughout the Caribbean and to other coral species near Fort Lauderdale. For the first time, oocyte resorption stages are described and constitute a baseline for future projects that aim to understand this process in corals.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david-gilliam/75/