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Role of light intensity and spectral quality in coral settlement: implications for depth-dependent settlement?


Mundy, CN and Babcock, RC, Role of light intensity and spectral quality in coral settlement: implications for depth-dependent settlement?, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 223, (2) pp. 235-255. ISSN 0022-0981 (1998) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/S0022-0981(97)00167-6


On coral reefs scleractinian corals show strong patterns of vertical zonation, yet the underlying mechanisms creating and maintaining vertical zonation are poorly understood. Here we examine the potential contribution of light-dependent settlement in scleractinian coral planulae to patterns of vertical zonation. The effect of intensity and spectral quality of light on the settlement of six species of scleractinian corals (Goniastrea favulus Dana, Goniastrea aspera Verrill, Acropora tenuis Dana, Oxypora lacera Verrill, Montipora peltiformis Bernard, and Platygyra daedalea Ellis and Solander) with contrasting depth distributions was examined in laboratory trials. Light-dependent settlement was shown by planulae from five of the six species examined. Planulae from individual species showed a response to either light quality or light quantity, but not both. Settlement patterns shown by planulae from all six species were consistent with the vertical distribution patterns of adults in the field. Settlement of planulae from con-generic species with similar adult distribution patterns did not respond to variation in light intensity or spectral quality in a uniform manner, indicating the optimal light environment for settlement is species specific. The settlement patterns shown by planulae from five of the six species examined were more complex than required for selection of cryptic or exposed micro-habitats at settlement. The ecological function of such complex responses to light at settlement may be to identify optimum habitats for adult survival.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:coral, larvae, settlement, behaviour, light
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Mundy, CN (Dr Craig Mundy)
ID Code:101800
Year Published:1998
Web of Science® Times Cited:152
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-07-09
Last Modified:2015-08-25

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