Lager, Claire V. A., Hagedorn, Mary, Rodgers, Ku'ulei S., and Jokiel, Paul L. 2020. "The impact of short-term exposure to near shore stressors on the early life stages of the reef building coral Montipora capitata." Peerj 8:e9415-e9415. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9415
Successful reproduction and survival are crucial to the continuation and resilience of corals globally. As reef waters warm due to climate change, episodic largescale tropical storms are becoming more frequent, drastically altering the near shore water quality for short periods of time. Therefore, it is critical that we understand the effects warming waters, fresh water input, and run-off have on sexual reproduction of coral. To better understand the effects of these near shore stressors on Hawaiian coral, laboratory experiments were conducted at the Institute of Marine Biology to determine the independent effects of suspended sediment concentrations (100 mgl(-1) and 200 mgl(-1)), lowered salinity (28 parts per thousand), and elevated temperature (31 degrees C) on the successful fertilization, larval survival, and settlement of the scleractinian coral Montipora capitata. In the present study, early developmental stages of coral were exposed to one of three near shore stressors for a period of 24 h and the immediate (fertilization) and latent effects (larval survival and settlement) were observed and measured. Fertilization success and settlement were not affected by any of the treatments; however, larval survival was negatively affected by all of the treatments by 50% or greater (p > 0.05). These data show that early life stages of M. capitata may be impacted by near shore stressors associated with warming and more frequent storm events.