Reef restoration programs involving transplantation should be most successful when using coral species exhibiting high reproductive potential, local recruitment, and the ability to tolerate stresses induced by transplantation. One mode of enhancing reproduction, especially when populations
densities are low, is through self-fertilization. To determine if the high reproductive output observed in many hermaphroditic brooders is the product of self fertilization, randomly amplified polymorphic DNA was used to quantify selfing rates in three brooding, hermaphroditic Caribbean corals,
Favia fragum, Porites astreoides, and Agaricia agaricites. Self-fertilization rates in the field were high (49% for F. fragum, 34% for P. astreoides and 38% for A. agaricites). Given these high selfing rates, we tested the resiliency of hermaphroditic brooders
by transplanting intact and divided colonies of P. astreoides within and between 9 and 24 m depth. Survivorship was high in all transplant groups after 21 mo. Growth rates and larval production of transplanted colonies fell below those of colonies remaining at their depth of origin
only at 24 m depth. Even so, colonies transplanted from 9 to 24 m depth appeared healthy throughout the experiment. These results suggest that hermaphroditic brooders meet at least two of the criteria needed for successful coral transplantation programs.
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