Reproductive strategies of the coral Turbinaria reniformis in the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea)

Hanna Rapuano*, Itzchak Brickner, Tom Shlesinger, Efrat Meroz-Fine, Raz Tamir, Yossi Loya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we describe for the first time the reproductive biology of the scleractinian coral Turbinaria reniformis studied during three years at the coral reefs of Eilat and Aqaba. We also investigated the possibility of sex change in individually tagged colonies followed over a period of 12 years. T. reniformis was found to be a stable gonochorist (no detected sex change) that reproduces by broadcast spawning 5-6 nights after the full moon of June and July. Spawning was highly synchronized between individuals in the field and in the lab. Reproduction of T. reniformis is temporally isolated from the times at which most other corals reproduce in Eilat. Its relatively long reproductive cycle compared to other hermaphroditic corals may be due to the high reproductive effort associated with the production of eggs by gonochoristic females. Sex ratio in both the Aqaba and Eilat coral populations deviated significantly from a 1:1 ratio. The larger number of males than of females may provide a compensation for sperm limitation due to its dilution in the water column. We posit that such sex allocation would facilitate adaptation within gonochoristic species by increasing fertilization success in low density populations, constituting a phenomenon possibly regulated by chemical communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42670
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2017


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