Skip to Content
Sign up
Report an error

Asexual reproduction

Asexual reproduction also affects the distribution and abundance of many species. Parts of branching corals are commonly scattered by storms only to re-grow as a multitude of new colonies. This does not in itself aid long distance dispersal, but it may greatly enhance the reproductive output, hence the genetic impact, from the settlement of a single planula larva. There are many other mechanisms of asexual reproduction that may play the same role. These include the formation of satellite colonies in Goniopora, the ‘bail-out’ of polyps as a result of stress, the expulsion of fully developed polyps in place of planulae, the budding of acanthocauli in fungiids and other corals, and autotomy in Diaseris. 1 1 2 2. Field and aquarium studies are used in conjunction to study coral reproduction. Here, a polyp of Oculina with a clearly visible calcareous stalk is being released from the parent colony (1). Polyps settle (2) and grow into new colonies. Mediterranean Israel Photograph: Amikam Shoob. An acanthocaulus of Fungia. These juveniles develop long stalks. The stalks are broken by boring sponges, releasing the tiny discs as free-living corals. Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photograph: Valerie Taylor. An acanthocaulus of Fungia. These juveniles develop long stalks. The stalks are broken by boring sponges, releasing the tiny discs as free-living corals. Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photograph: Valerie Taylor.

J.E.N. Veron