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Ciencias marinas

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3880


CARPIZO-ITUARTE, E et al. Evidence of sexual reproduction in the hermatypic corals Pocillopora damicornis, Porites panamensis, and Pavona gigantea in Banderas Bay, Mexican Pacific. Cienc. mar [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.1, pp. 97-112. ISSN 0185-3880.

The reproductive capacity of coral communities in the Mexican Pacific is still poorly documented. One of the most abundant coral communities in this region is found in Banderas Bay, yet the reproductive patterns of the coral species have not been analyzed. In order to document the annual reproductive cycle of the three most common species of corals in the bay, samples of Pocillopora damicornis, Porites panamensis, and Pavona gigantea were collected monthly from Redonda Island from December 2001 to November 2002. Colony fragments were processed by histological techniques and analyzed under a microscope. The three species showed the presence of gametes, which was associated with an increase in sea surface temperature. Gametogenesis was first observed in P. damicornis, classified as hermaphrodite. In P panamensis, reproductive cells were observed in May 2002, and embryos and planulae in September 2002; this species was classified as gonochoric, showing internal fertilization and a distinct reproductive behavior compared with that reported for other areas of the eastern tropical Pacific. In P. gigantea, gametogenesis started later and occurred over a short period of time; this species was classified as gonochoric and no mature gametes were evident. All three species showed reproductive potential during the summer, confirming the reproductive capacity documented for these species in adjoining areas of the Mexican Pacific. The intensity and duration of the reproductive cycle in Banderas Bay are likely regulated by periodic events like El Niño and microscale climate oscillations that modulate temperature and light patterns in the area.

Palabras llave : gametogenesis; cnidarians; corals; reproduction.

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