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Asymmetric Conspecific Sperm Precedence in Relation to Spawning Times in the Montastraea annularis Species Complex (Cnidaria: Scleractinia)
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
  • Nicole D. Fogarty, Florida State University
  • M. Lowenberg, Florida State University
  • M. N. Ojima, Florida State University
  • Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution; University of California - San Diego
  • Don R. Levitan, Florida State University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Gametic incompatibility,
  • Prezygotic mechanism,
  • Reproductive isolation
In broadcast spawners, prezygotic reproductive isolation depends on differences in the spatial and temporal patterns of gamete release and gametic incompatibility. Typically, gametic incompatibility is measured in no-choice crosses, but conspecific sperm precedence (CSP) can prevent hybridization in gametes that are compatible in the absence of sperm competition. Broadcast spawning corals in the Montastraea annularis species complex spawn annually on the same few evenings. Montastraea franksi spawns an average of 110 min before M. annularis, with a minimum gap of approximately 40 min. Gametes are compatible in no-choice heterospecific assays, but it is unknown whether eggs exhibit choice when in competition. Hybridization depends on either M. franksi eggs remaining unfertilized and in proximity to M. annularis when the latter species spawns or M. franksi sperm remaining in sufficient viable concentrations when M. annularis spawns. We found that the eggs of the early spawning M. franksi demonstrate strong CSP, whereas CSP appears to be lacking for M. annularis eggs. This study provides evidence of diverging gamete affinities between these recently separated species and suggests for the first time that selection may favour CSP in earlier spawning species when conspecific sperm is diluted and aged and is otherwise at a numeric and viability disadvantage with heterospecific sperm.

©2012 The Authors

Additional Comments
National Science Foundation grant #: OCE-9911225
Citation Information
Nicole D. Fogarty, M. Lowenberg, M. N. Ojima, Nancy Knowlton, et al.. "Asymmetric Conspecific Sperm Precedence in Relation to Spawning Times in the Montastraea annularis Species Complex (Cnidaria: Scleractinia)" Journal of Evolutionary Biology Vol. 25 Iss. 12 (2012) p. 2481 - 2488 ISSN: 1010-061X
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