Skip to main content

Building

A better future

through education, skill development and research

LEARN MORE

Healthy Coral Populations Produce a Surprising Number of Offspring

Healthy coral populations can produce up to 200 times more juvenile corals than degraded coral populations nearby, according to a new study in Conservation Letters.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 12:01 am EDT
"Healthy reefs are critical nurseries for baby corals and they support the recovery of coral communities elsewhere"

Healthy coral populations can produce up to 200 times more juvenile corals than degraded coral populations nearby, according to a new study in Conservation Letters. By studying one of the Caribbean’s healthiest remaining coral reefs on the island of Curaçao, researchers found that healthy coral populations had a higher percentage of successful parents and each parent produced up to four times more offspring compared with corals in degraded populations. Combined with higher coral numbers overall, the healthy populations produced up 200 times more offspring per square meter of coral reef.

The conservation value of healthy coral reefs is therefore higher than previously thought because of their outsized contributions to coral reproduction and reef recovery. Traditionally, coral abundance was the most widely-used method for assessing reef health. This new study shows this measurement underestimates the hidden differences in reproduction between healthy and degraded reefs. Because coral offspring can swim and disperse to other reefs, the healthiest remaining coral reefs can help re-seed and regrow coral reefs on local and regional scales.

“Healthy reefs are critical nurseries for baby corals and they support the recovery of coral communities elsewhere,” said lead author Dr. Aaron Hartmann.


Additional Information

Link to Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12410

About Journal

Conservation Lettersis a scientific journal publishing empirical and theoretical research with significant implications for the conservation of biological diversity. The journal welcomes submissions across the biological and social sciences - especially interdisciplinary submissions – that advance pragmatic conservation goals as well as scientific understanding. Manuscripts will be published on a rapid communications schedule and therefore should be current and topical.  Research articles should clearly articulate the significance of their findings for conservation policy and practice.


Contact:

Penny Smith
Tel: +44 (0)1243 770448
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com

Business Wire NewsHQsm