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Most marine invertebrates, including corals, have only minor control of dispersal; they can control the time of release of larvae and they can control the time the larvae remain afloat. For corals, being sessile, timing is also important because males and females cannot move into reproductive contact: species which spawn must release their gametes into the water simultaneously. As colonies may be a long way apart, this release must be both precisely and broadly synchronised. This is done in response to environmental cues, responses which have a wide array of options.

J.E.N. Veron