Erftemeijer, Paul L. A., Hagedorn, Mary M., Laterveer, Michael, Craggs, Jamie, and Guest, James R. 2012. "Effect of suspended sediment on fertilization success in the scleractinian coral Pectinia lactuca." Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 92 (4):741-745. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315411000944
The effect of increased levels of suspended sediment on fertilization success in the scleractinian coral Pectinia lactuca was investigated in a laboratory experiment following a mass coral spawning event on reefs off Singapore. Egg-sperm bundles were collected from tank-spawned coral colonies collected from the field several days prior to the anticipated mass spawning. Eggs and sperm from each colony were separated and distributed systematically across replicated treatments (N = 9) with three concentrations of fine suspended sediment. Spawning and embryo development in Pectinia lactuca followed a pattern similar to other scleractinian coral species. There was a significant effect of increased suspended sediment concentration on fertilization success (P < 0.05). Both high-(169 mg l(-1)) and medium-(43 mg l(-1)) suspended sediment treatments decreased fertilization success compared to controls. These results imply that increased turbidity levels (whether chronic, such as in the waters around Singapore, or short-term, caused by a dredging operation)-when coinciding with the coral spawning season-may affect the reproductive success of corals and compromise coral recruitment and recovery of degraded reefs.