Methods to enhance sexual recruitment for restoration of damaged reefs
Natural recruitment of scleractinian corals is highly influenced by various environmental effects. Predation, sedimentation, algal growth and grazing may cause high mortality rates in larvae and settlers. In the past, methods have been developed to produce large quantities of planulae. Under laboratory conditions the survival of ex situ produced propagules can be optimized to obtain large amounts of sexual recruits. Sexual recruitment plays an important role in conservation management, especially for the preservation of genetic diversity in natural and ex situ populations. We carried out pilot studies which indicate the possibility to transport, settle and recruit scleractinian corals, here Acropora florida Dana 1846, in closed-system aquaria using artificial seawater. After further development, this method promises to be an economical and effective way to mariculture corals for restoration of damaged reefs. To fulfill this aim, collaboration with commercial coral farms and public aquaria should be envisaged. Coral farms that provide work for coastal populations can play an important role in mariculturing sexual settlers. Such farms could produce thousands of propagules for reef conservation and even more for the aquarium trade thus reducing natural collection of corals and providing financial support by resulting incomes. Public aquaria may help to optimize this method.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2001-09-01
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