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Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems, however,data on spawning timing and extent of synchrony are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera and 2 families participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. Two Acropora species (A. digitifera and A. tenuis) also spawned one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two species of Acropora (A. millepora and A. nasuta) exhibited highly synchronous spawning in April (100% of sampled colonies), two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera) did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies) in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia and these data support the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia.
This short paper describes the first detailed observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia.
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