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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 476:1-8 (2013)  -  DOI:

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

R. A. Cabral-Tena1, H. Reyes-Bonilla2, S. Lluch-Cota1, D. A. Paz-García1, L. E. Calderón-Aguilera3, O. Norzagaray-López3, E. F. Balart1,*

1Laboratorio de Necton y Ecología de Arrecifes, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), La Paz, Baja California Sur, 23090, México
2Departamento de Biología Marina, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS), La Paz, Baja California Sur,
23080, México
3Laboratorio de Ecología Pesquera y Costera, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE), Ensenada, Baja California, 22860, México
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Density banding provides a record of performance of coral colonies over time and across environments, and offers 3 measurable variables: skeletal density, extension rate, and calcification rate. Skeleton formation is energetically expensive for corals and may be associated with other energy-dependent processes, such as reproduction. Egg production requires more energy expenditure than sperm production. Thus, calcification rate is hypothesized to be different for each gender. To evaluate differences in skeletal growth between males and females, we studied a gonochoric massive coral, Porites panamensis, from 3 regions of the Gulf of California. Colony sex was identified using histology methods, and growth parameters were measured using photo-densitometry of X-radiographs. Extension and calcification rates were significantly higher in male colonies than in females (by 18 to 23%) at 2 of our 3 study sites, while skeletal density was similar in both genders. Our results support the hypothesis of a gender bias in growth characteristics and suggest that environmental conditions may impact coral calcification differently in male and female colonies.

KEY WORDS: Coral growth parameters . Gender bias . High-latitude coral communities . Eastern Pacific

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Cite this article as: Cabral-Tena RA, Reyes-Bonilla H, Lluch-Cota S, Paz-García DA, Calderón-Aguilera LE, Norzagaray-López O, Balart EF (2013) Different calcification rates in males and females of the coral Porites panamensis in the Gulf of California. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 476:1-8.

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