Coral brooding

Although being some of the most common, widely distributed and extensively studied corals, little is known about the reproduction of species within the coral genus Pocillopora. Recently AIMS scientists showed that this species consists of a species complex rather than a single species, containing taxa that harbor different reproductive strategies. Pocilloporids either spawn gametes for external fertilization or produce planula larvae via internal brooding. Despite this model coral species having been extensively studied our understanding of its reproduction still remains poorly understood. Maintaining different genetic lineages of Pocillopora, SeaSim has provided vital assistance in further elucidating their complex reproductive patterns and in strengthening previously existing datasets. Due to the optimised conditions provided by SeaSim, two lineages of Pocillopora are now brooding regularly, thus providing larvae for several ongoing experiments. Furthermore, spawning in three types of Pocillopora (type a, b & γ) has been observed within the SeaSim system, a great achievement which provides exciting directions for future research.