The regional structure of spawning phenology and the potential consequences for connectivity of coral assemblages across the Eastern Tropical Pacific

Romero-Torres, Mauricio, Acosta, Alberto and Treml, Eric A 2017, The regional structure of spawning phenology and the potential consequences for connectivity of coral assemblages across the Eastern Tropical Pacific, ICES journal of marine science, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 613-624, doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsw218.

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Title The regional structure of spawning phenology and the potential consequences for connectivity of coral assemblages across the Eastern Tropical Pacific
Author(s) Romero-Torres, Mauricio
Acosta, Alberto
Treml, Eric AORCID iD for Treml, Eric A orcid.org/0000-0003-4844-4420
Journal name ICES journal of marine science
Volume number 74
Issue number 3
Start page 613
End page 624
Total pages 12
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2017-03-01
ISSN 1054-3139
1095-9289
Keyword(s) coral connectivity
Eastern Tropical Pacific
phenology
Pocillopora damicornis
reproductive traits
spawning
science & technology
life sciences & biomedicine
physical sciences
fisheries
marine & freshwater biology
oceanography
Summary The coral reefs of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) are some of the most geographically isolated of the world. A key to understanding their long-Term persistence and population recovery via dispersal (i.e. population connectivity), is knowing when the corals spawn in the region. To this end, we reviewed and synthesized the literature on the reproductive phenology of corals (month of spawning) and their dispersal-related characteristics to infer the potential impact on the region's functional connectivity. We classified the region into four thermal regimes based on long-Term mean sea surface temperature (SST) data: Tropical Upwelling, Thermally Stable, Equatorial Upwelling, and Seasonal. Each regime's unique spawning seasonality was then explored by quantifying the linear dependence between the number of observed spawning events and SST. Finally, the potential impact of this unique regional mismatch in spawning was illustrated using a biophysical larval dispersal model. We found spawning occurs throughout the year in the Upwelling and Thermally Stable regimes (showing low or no linear dependence with SST); whereas spawning had a strong seasonal signal in the Equatorial Upwelling and Seasonal regimes, occurring primarily in the warm months. Considering the region's mismatch in spawning phenologies, and unique dispersal traits, the simulations of coral larval dispersal across the ETP result in infrequently realized connectivity between ecoregions, low local retention and high self-recruitment, that combined with low recruitment densities in the field indicates more vulnerable populations to disturbance than previously appreciated. The strong relationship between spawning phenology and SST in some regimes suggests a greater susceptibility of these coral assemblages to extreme El Nino and La Nina events and future ocean warming.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsw218
Field of Research MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30107455

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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