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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 476 - Feature article
The coral Porites panamensis and X-radiographs of male and female colonies, from Bahía de La Paz, Gulf of California. Image: David A. Paz-García

Cabral-Tena RA, Reyes-Bonilla H, Lluch-Cota S, Paz-García DA, Calderón-Aguilera LE, Norzagaray-López O, Balart EF


Different calcification rates in males and females of the coral Porites panamensis in the Gulf of California


Skeleton formation is energetically expensive for corals and is thus associated with other energy-dependent processes, such as reproduction. Egg production requires more energy expenditure than sperm production. Cabral-Tena and co-workers tested the hypothesis that growth rate differs between genders, using photo-densitometry techniques on X-radiographs of Porites panamensis, a gonochoric massive coral. Extension and calcification rates were significantly higher in male colonies than in female colonies, while skeletal density was similar. The results suggest that environmental conditions affect coral calcification differently between male and female colonies. This must be considered in assessments of coral ecosystems under different scenarios, and in analyses of paleo-reconstructions based on coral cores.


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