Coral reproductive biology

  • Understanding the reproductive behavior of corals is an important factor in helping to preserve coral reef ecosystems. In India, the study on coral reproductive biology is new to science and SDMRI has taken up this study since January 2006.
  • In Gulf of Mannar, single reproductive season per year has been observed among Acropora species. The length of the peak reproductive season extends three months (January to March) in a year. During January, the visible gametes are abundant in all Acropora species and the percentage of colonies with visible gametes increases in the next month and spawn during March.
  • Reproductive synchrony among Acropora species has also been identified. The restored corals near Vaan Island were also found to be actively participating in the sexual reproduction.
  • It was also established that there is a single annual cycle of gametogenesis in the species, Acropora intermedia, A. nobilis and A. cytherea.
  • Oogenesis lasts for 6-7 months from September to March and spermatogenesis lasts for 4 months from December to March. During March every year, multispecific synchronous spawning happens among Acropora species in Gulf of Mannar.
  • Sudden elevation in temperature around 2 to 3º C stimulates the corals with ripe gametes to spawn.
  • Spawning slicks were also observed in Kudankulam coast in south Gulf of Mannar during 2013.