Recruitment to the reef
column spacer Recruitment to the reef
 
 
seahorse dive leader for BIOLOGY OF CARIBBEAN CORAL REEFS website photograph of a regenerating gorgonian taken from a video

"Many reef organisms can reproduce asexually by breaking off bits of themselves. In other cases, pieces broken from them such as this gorgonian, have a good chance of re-attaching and re-growing" - Cayman Brac 2001

NOTE sea rod gorgonian Eunicea sp.

 
 

Asexual reproduction

 

Recruitment in reef organisms can involve either sexual or asexual reproduction. The first involves copulation/spawning in animals or gametes/spores in plants, while the second involves fragmentation of the body to produce genetically identical clones. Asexual reproduction occurs in both plants and invertebrates.

Asexual reproduction in seaweeds is considered in this section, while SEXUAL REPRODUCTION is dealt with elsewhere. Click on an icon to learn about asexual reproduction in different reef organisms.

hot buttons for asexal reproduction section of BCCR website hot-button icon for linking to the topic of asexual reproduction in seaweeds in BCCR website hot-button icon for linking to the topic of asexual reproduction in sponges in BCCR website hot-button icon for linking to the topic of asexual reproduction in gorgonians in BCCR website hot-button icon for linking to the topic of asexual reproduction in corals/zoanthids in BCCR website hot-button icon for linking to the topic of asexual reproduction in seastars in BCCR website hot-button icon for linking to the topic of asexual reproduction in tunicates in BCCR website
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Asexual reproduction: seaweeds

 
 
seahorse dive leader for BIOLOGY OF CARIBBEAN CORAL REEFS website photograph of Caribbean seaweeds taken from a video

"Many seaweeds are brittle and fragment easily when animals eat them. Sometimes the bits will re-attach and grow into new plants. I don't know whether this species will do it, but it's a cool strategy, huh?." - Cayman Brac 2001

NOTE possibly the brown alga Dictyota sp.

 
 

photograph of red seaweed Acanthophora spicifera

A common easily-fragmented Caribbean
red alga Acanthophora spicifera 1X
 
 
drawing showing algal fragments being carried to the back-reef area and regrowing
Studies on fragmentation and survival of red algae on reefs in Panama show that bits of algae broken from individuals on the front-reef by wave impact may be carried into the back-reef area where they become snagged and start to grow. Kilar & McLachlan 1986 J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 104: 1.

 

 

 

Note that a good portion of the bits survive their transit
over the reef and could potentially grow into new plants.
Whether this would happen in this way would depend on
factors such as number and types of herbivores present,
season of the year, type of substratum, stability
of the substratum, nutrient levels, and so on

 
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