Settlement and recruitment of a soft coral: why is Xenia macrospiculata a successful colonizer?

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Rapid recruitment in the Red Sea soft coral, Xenia macrospiculata, depends largely on both its ability to migrate and its asexual reproduction. Colonization of artificial substrates and experimentally-denuded natural surfaces by this species takes place all year round. The migratory behavior of X. macrospiculata was detected as translocation of a wide size range of colonies from densely populated patches towards vacant neighboring spaces. The most intense colonization occurs in the shallow reef (3-5 m), while in the deep zone (27-30 m) recruitment rate is lower. The migratory nature of X. macrospiculata enhances dispersion and enlarges the area of its aggregations. X. macrospiculata multiples asexually by colony fission, facilitating dispersal and colonization capacity. Fission results in not only an increase of population density but also the regulation of colony size. Colonization and space dominance exhibited by X. macrospiculata are largely due to vegetative processes. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalBulletin of Marine Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985


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