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The Widely-Distributed Indo-Pacific Zoanthid Palythoa Tuberculosa: A Sexually Conservative Strategist

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Here we characterize the reproductive strategy of Palythoa tuberculosa (Esper, 1791) in the northern Gulf of Aqaba. Polyp sampling revealed that P. tuberculosa is a protandrous hermaphrodite over its life cycle, but has an annual protogynous hermaphroditic cycle. Fecundity was highest in the center of the colonies, with a mean (± SD) of 1196 ± 629 oocytes polyp–1. Spawning coincided with a rise in seawater temperature, and occurred on the first week after full moon each month (June–August). Gamete release and fertilization success peaked 2 d after full moon. Larvae developed into zoanthellae 13 d post-fertilization. High fecundity and long larval developmental periods suggest high investment in sexual reproduction. Nonetheless, a low recruitment was noted on the reef. Palythoa tuberculosa appears to maintain its complex reproductive strategy throughout its wide geographic distribution.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2011

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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