Environmental factors explain spawning day deviation from full moon in the scleractinian coral Acropora

Yusuke Sakai, Masayuki Hatta, Seishiro Furukawa, Masakado Kawata, Naoto Ueno, Shinichiro Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Broadcast-spawning scleractinian corals annually release their gametes with high levels of synchrony, both within and among species. However, the timing of spawning can vary inter-annually. In particular, the night of spawning relative to the full moon phase can vary considerably among years at some locations. Although multiple environmental factors can affect the night of spawning, their effects have not been quantitatively assessed at the multi-regional level. In this study, we analysed environmental factors that are potentially correlated with spawning day deviation, in relation to the full moon phase, in Acropora corals inhabiting seven reefs in Australia and Japan. We accordingly found that sea surface temperature and wind speed within one to two months prior to the full moon of the spawning month were strongly correlated with spawning day deviations. In addition, solar flux had a weak effect on the night of spawning. These findings indicate that Acropora have the capacity to adjust their development and physiology in response to environmental factors for fine-tuning the timing of synchronous spawning, thereby maximizing reproductive success and post-fertilization survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190760
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1


  • Acropora
  • Coral reef
  • Full moon
  • Reproduction
  • Sea surface temperature
  • Spawning synchrony


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