Hermaphroditic spawning by the gonochoric pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus

K. L. Neely, C. Lewis, A. N. Chan, I. B. Baums

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Scleractinian corals typically reproduce sexually as either gonochoric (separate male and female) or hermaphroditic (producing both eggs and sperm) colonies. The Caribbean pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus has been classified as gonochoric, but multi-year spawning observations at a Florida Keys site revealed incidences of hermaphroditism. Separate clonal colonies (ramets) of a single genet released either male or female gametes. Furthermore, 22% of observed ramets produced both eggs and sperm within different regions of a single colony. Over multiple years, one ramet switched from female to hermaphrodite, one from male to hermaphrodite, and one from hermaphrodite to male. Proposed evolutionary mechanisms include size- or age-based energy allocation, environmental energy allocation, or chemically induced change in a single-sex region. Because of the low population density of D. cylindrus in the Florida Keys, sexual partners are scarce, and hermaphroditism may be a strategy to yield higher rates of successful sexual reproduction. The findings also have implications for future restoration efforts aiming to strategically outplant individuals to maximize in situ fertilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1087-1092
Number of pages6
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018

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pillar
hermaphrodite
corals
coral
spawning
hermaphroditism
sperm
spermatozoa
egg
ramet
genet
energy
sexual reproduction
gamete
fertilization (reproduction)
germ cells
population density
incidence
gender
allocation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Neely, K. L. ; Lewis, C. ; Chan, A. N. ; Baums, I. B. / Hermaphroditic spawning by the gonochoric pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus. In: Coral Reefs. 2018 ; Vol. 37, No. 4. pp. 1087-1092.
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Hermaphroditic spawning by the gonochoric pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus. / Neely, K. L.; Lewis, C.; Chan, A. N.; Baums, I. B.

In: Coral Reefs, Vol. 37, No. 4, 15.12.2018, p. 1087-1092.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

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T1 - Hermaphroditic spawning by the gonochoric pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus

AU - Neely, K. L.

AU - Lewis, C.

AU - Chan, A. N.

AU - Baums, I. B.

PY - 2018/12/15

Y1 - 2018/12/15

N2 - Scleractinian corals typically reproduce sexually as either gonochoric (separate male and female) or hermaphroditic (producing both eggs and sperm) colonies. The Caribbean pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus has been classified as gonochoric, but multi-year spawning observations at a Florida Keys site revealed incidences of hermaphroditism. Separate clonal colonies (ramets) of a single genet released either male or female gametes. Furthermore, 22% of observed ramets produced both eggs and sperm within different regions of a single colony. Over multiple years, one ramet switched from female to hermaphrodite, one from male to hermaphrodite, and one from hermaphrodite to male. Proposed evolutionary mechanisms include size- or age-based energy allocation, environmental energy allocation, or chemically induced change in a single-sex region. Because of the low population density of D. cylindrus in the Florida Keys, sexual partners are scarce, and hermaphroditism may be a strategy to yield higher rates of successful sexual reproduction. The findings also have implications for future restoration efforts aiming to strategically outplant individuals to maximize in situ fertilization.

AB - Scleractinian corals typically reproduce sexually as either gonochoric (separate male and female) or hermaphroditic (producing both eggs and sperm) colonies. The Caribbean pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus has been classified as gonochoric, but multi-year spawning observations at a Florida Keys site revealed incidences of hermaphroditism. Separate clonal colonies (ramets) of a single genet released either male or female gametes. Furthermore, 22% of observed ramets produced both eggs and sperm within different regions of a single colony. Over multiple years, one ramet switched from female to hermaphrodite, one from male to hermaphrodite, and one from hermaphrodite to male. Proposed evolutionary mechanisms include size- or age-based energy allocation, environmental energy allocation, or chemically induced change in a single-sex region. Because of the low population density of D. cylindrus in the Florida Keys, sexual partners are scarce, and hermaphroditism may be a strategy to yield higher rates of successful sexual reproduction. The findings also have implications for future restoration efforts aiming to strategically outplant individuals to maximize in situ fertilization.

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