Spawning synchrony (i.e., synchronous release of gametes) is a ubiquitous phenomenon occurring in many marine organisms. Perhaps the most well known synchronized spawning event is the mass spawning behavior of corals observed in the tropics where over a hundred species spawn within a few hours after sunset on the nights surrounding the full moon. These events involve the integration of circa-annual, circa-lunar, and circa-diel cues, but the environmental signals that control these phenomenal events remain contentious in the literature. I analyze here the contributions of environmental signals to the timing of coral spawning at different scales. Correlations of population spawning patterns with both solar insolation and sea surface temperature indicate that both environmental signals are important, but spawning synchrony was shown to be more precise determinant with the arrival of increasing sea surface temperatures. On the circa-lunar and circa-diel time scales, the unique features of the physical components of light dynamics were characterized and experimentally tested for their separate contribution to spawning synchrony. Spawning synchrony on the circa-lunar and circa-annual time scales were shown to be most dependent on photoperiod components of the lunar and solar cycles. The results of these studies are consistent with coral spawning models wherein coral spawning synchrony is driven by a cascade of environmental signals. Therefore, coral spawning synchrony is suggested to be controlled by the cascade of environmental signals starting with the seasonal arrival of maximum solar insolation and rising sea surface temperatures followed by lunar and solar photoperiod dynamics as proximate triggers.
|Advisor:||Morse, Daniel E.|
|School:||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Acropora, Photoperiod, Sea surface temperature, Spawning synchrony|
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