Open Access Repository

Spatio-temporal variation in coral recruitment at different scales on Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef


Downloads per month over past year

Dunstan, PK and Johnson, CR 1998 , 'Spatio-temporal variation in coral recruitment at different scales on Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef' , Coral Reefs, vol. 17, no. 1 , pp. 71-81 , doi: 10.1007/s003380050098.

[img] PDF
Dunstan_and_Joh...pdf | Request a copy
Full text restricted
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


Recruitment of scleractinian corals on settlement
plates at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, was
examined over four years (September 1991-September
1995) to quantify spatio-temporal patterns at different
scales and to assess post settlement mortality. Recruitment
was dominated by pocilloporid corals which
accounted for 80.1% of the 8627 spat counted, whereas
non-isoporan acroporids represented only 16.4%.
Poritids, faviids and isoporan acroporids rarely recruited
to the plates (3.5%), despite their obvious abundance
as adults on the reef. Recruitment patterns on the
plates indicate strong space-time interactions as evidenced
by patchy recruitment of both pocilloporid and
acroporid spat. Interactions were found between space
(on the scale of 102 m, i.e. sites within zones, and 101 m,
i.e. racks within sites) and time (on the scale of years) for
pocilloporids and between space (on the scale of 103 m,
i.e. zones, and 102 m) and time (on the scale of years) for
acroporids. Post-recruitment mortality of acroporid
spat in the period 3-10 months after their major spawning
was dependent on their initial recruitment density,
but pocilloporid mortality was either independent of
initial recruitment density or, more likely, obscured by
additional recruitment of pocilloporids to plates between
late February and September. High rates of
recruitment and growth by other sessile organisms,
particularly bryozoans and oysters, appear to result in
increased post-recruitment mortality and limit recruitment
of scleractinian corals on settlement plates. The
work reinforces an emerging picture that coral recruitment
patterns are determined by mechanisms that
manifest over a large range of spatial scales.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Dunstan, PK and Johnson, CR
Keywords: Coral recruitment; Space-time variation; Scale; Competition
Journal or Publication Title: Coral Reefs
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s003380050098
Additional Information:

The original publication is available at

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page