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Reproductive patterns in two deep-water solitary corals from the north-east Atlantic—Flabellum alabastrum and F. angulare (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Scleractinia)

  • Rhian G. Waller (a1) and Paul A. Tyler (a2)

Gametogenesis and reproductive periodicity of the solitary scleractinians Flabellum alabastrum (from the Rockall Trough) and F. angulare (from the Porcupine Seabight) were investigated. Samples were collected between depths from 1370 to 2190 m for F. alabastrum and 2412 to 2467 m for F. angulare. Both species showed gonochorism with a 1:1 sex-ratio and broadcast spawning of gametes is inferred from the lack of brooded planulae. Oocyte sizes were large in both species (925 μm in F. alabastrum and 1015 μm in F. angulare), suggesting lecithotrophic larval development. Fecundity and periodicity of oocyte development differed between the two species. Flabellum alabastrum produced a maximum of 2800 oocytes per polyp quasi-continuously, whereas the deeper species F. angulare produced a maximum of 550 oocytes per polyp either seasonally or periodically. Both species showed size-dependent fecundity. The data show a decrease in oocyte size and fecundity with depth, in concordance with other deep-water scleractinian species.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: R.G. Waller, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1000 Pope Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA email:
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S. Burgess and R.C. Babcock (2005) Reproductive ecology of three reef-forming, deep-sea corals in the New Zealand region. In A. Freiwald and J.M. Roberts (eds) Cold-water corals and ecosystems. New York: Springer, pp. 701713.

R.G. Hartnoll (1977) Reproductive strategy in two British species of Alcyonium. In B.F. Keegan , P.O. Ceidigh and P.J.S. Boaden (eds) Biology of benthic organisms. New York: Pergamon, pp. 321328.

R. Richmond (1997) Reproduction and recruitment in corals: critical links to the persistence of reefs. In C. Birkeland (ed.) Life and death of coral reefs. New York and London: Chapman & Hall, pp. 175197.

R.G. Waller (2005) Deep-water Scleractinia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa): current knowledge of reproductive processes. In A. Freiwald and J.M. Roberts (eds) Cold-water corals and ecosystems. Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, pp. 691700.

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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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