Mass Spawning in Tropical Reef Corals

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Science  16 Mar 1984:
Vol. 223, Issue 4641, pp. 1186-1189
DOI: 10.1126/science.223.4641.1186


Synchronous multispecific spawning by a total of 32 coral species occurred a few nights after late spring full moons in 1981 and 1982 at three locations on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The data invalidate the generalization that most corals have internally fertilized, brooded planula larvae. In every species observed, gametes were released; external fertilization and development then followed. The developmental rates of externally fertilized eggs and longevities of planulae indicate that planulae may be dispersed between reefs.