The timing of density band formation, the seasonal growth rate, and the relationship of dense band formation to temperature, light, rainfall, growth rate, polyp tissue depth, and reproduction were determined in 15 Jamaican Montastraea annularis (Ellis and Solander, 1786) colonies
by means of a long-term field study. The time and duration of high density (HD) band formation was from late August to early October. HD band formation occurred when monthly skeletal extension rates were lowest and gonads were largest. The strong correlation between HD band formation and skeletal
extension rate, the inconsistent relationships between HD band formation and light intensity in the literature, and the absence of any significant correlation between HD band formation and polyp tissue depth, have led us to propose that density band formation is related primarily to changes
in skeletal extension rate. Additionally, the strong correlations observed between gonad size and both HD band formation and skeletal extension support the premise that HD bands in M. annularis result from the diversion of resources to reproduction. A hypothesis of HD band formation
based on the diversion of resources from growth to reproduction might also explain some of the variations in HD band formation time found in the literature as well as the absence of clear density bands in some species.
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