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Free Content Recolonization Patterns of Acropora Palmata in a Marginal Environment

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An analysis of the recolonization patterns of Acropora palmata on the Veracruz reef complex, which is subject to strong terrestrial influence, and where the species previously suffered a widespread mortality, indicates that sexual recolonization can proceed relatively fast in marginal conditions. Recruitment is probably dependent on the coincidental presence of non-permanent superficial currents and low precipitation on the continental watershed, as suggested by data on the reefs distance from the coast and from possible larval sources. Young colonies of A. palmata colonizing skeletons of the same species show predominantly sheet-like growth forms as a morphological response to the suitable substrate. Such a growth form allows for a relatively rapid covering of the skeleton by young colonies, thus attaining an adult morphology in a short time period. This may enhance their survival, and suggests that recovery of A. palmata at stands where mass mortality of the colonies had occurred, leaving the skeletons intact, could be significantly faster than previously thought.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1992

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