Main content area

Comparisons of population density and genetic diversity in artificial and wild populations of an arborescent coral, Acropora yongei: implications for the efficacy of “artificial spawning hotspots”

Zayasu, Yuna, Suzuki, Go
Restoration ecology 2019 v.27 no.2 pp. 440-446
Acropora, adults, clones, corals, genetic variation, larvae, population density, spawning
We are developing techniques to restore coral populations by enhancing larval supply using “artificial spawning hotspots” that aggregate conspecific adult corals. However, no data were available regarding how natural larval supply from wild coral populations is influenced by fertilization rate and how this is in turn affected by local population density and genetic diversity. Therefore, we assessed population density and genetic diversity of a wild, arborescent coral, Acropora yongei, and compared these parameters with those of an artificially established A. yongei population in the field. The population density of wild arborescent corals was only 0.27% of that in the artificial population, even in a high‐coverage area. Genetic diversity was also low in the wild population compared with the artificial population, and approximately 10% of all wild colonies were clones. Based on these results, the larval supply in the artificial population was estimated to be at least 1,400 times higher than that in wild A. yongei populations for the same area of adult population.