Density-dependent effects on initial growth of a branching coral under restoration

John N. Griffin, Elizabeth C. Schrack, Kemit Amon Lewis, Iliana B. Baums, Nicole Soomdat, Brian R. Silliman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Coral reef restoration aims to help threatened coral ecosystems recover from recent severe declines. Here we address whether coral fragments should be out-planted individually or in larger aggregations. Theory suggests alternative possible outcomes: whereas out-plants within aggregations might suffer from heightened negative interactions with neighbors (e.g. competition for space), they may alternatively benefit from positive interactions with neighbors (e.g. buffering wave disturbances). On a degraded reef in the Caribbean (St. Croix, USVI), using out-plants of the critically endangered staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis, we experimentally tested how aggregation density (1-20 out-planted coral fragments spaced at approximately 5 cm) influenced initial coral growth (over 3 months). Coral growth declined as a function of aggregation size, and out-plants within larger aggregations had fewer and shorter secondary branches on average, indicative of horizontal competition for space. Our results therefore suggest that wide spacing of individuals will maximize the initial growth of out-planted branching corals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalRestoration Ecology
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Fingerprint

branching
corals
coral
endangered species
coral reefs
restoration
effect
buffering
reefs
coral reef
spatial distribution
spacing
reef
ecosystems
disturbance
ecosystem
Acropora cervicornis

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Griffin, J. N., Schrack, E. C., Lewis, K. A., Baums, I. B., Soomdat, N., & Silliman, B. R. (2015). Density-dependent effects on initial growth of a branching coral under restoration. Restoration Ecology, 23(3), 197-200. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.12173
Griffin, John N. ; Schrack, Elizabeth C. ; Lewis, Kemit Amon ; Baums, Iliana B. ; Soomdat, Nicole ; Silliman, Brian R. / Density-dependent effects on initial growth of a branching coral under restoration. In: Restoration Ecology. 2015 ; Vol. 23, No. 3. pp. 197-200.
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Griffin, JN, Schrack, EC, Lewis, KA, Baums, IB, Soomdat, N & Silliman, BR 2015, 'Density-dependent effects on initial growth of a branching coral under restoration', Restoration Ecology, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 197-200. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.12173

Density-dependent effects on initial growth of a branching coral under restoration. / Griffin, John N.; Schrack, Elizabeth C.; Lewis, Kemit Amon; Baums, Iliana B.; Soomdat, Nicole; Silliman, Brian R.

In: Restoration Ecology, Vol. 23, No. 3, 01.05.2015, p. 197-200.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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