Do reproduction and regeneration in damaged corals compete for energy allocation?

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Several field studies have revealed that damaged corals have lower fecundity during regeneration as compared to intact colonies. This finding was interpreted as suggesting that there is a trade-off in the allocation of energy between reproductive activities versus growth and regeneration in corals, where sexual reproduction is easily disrupted. However, 3 independent lines of evidence critically challenge the paradigm of energy allocation trade-off and suggest that (1) sexual reproduction in cnidarians may not always be subject to energy constraints and may possess a hierarchial function, (2) shallow-water scleractinians may not be prone to energy constraints, and (3) regeneration is a regulated process expressed through programmed events and not directly related to the energy trade-off principle. Growth, tissue repair and the production of the germ cell require 1 major resource, the stem cells. It is suggested that any extensive use of these reserve cells may reduce their numbers and significantly affect one or more biological functions. Several studies indirectly confirm this idea. Trade-offs for stem cells between tissue repair and sexual reproduction should he considered as a relevant factor shaping reproductive activities during regeneration in reef corals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Ecology - Progress Series
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Corals
  • Regeneration
  • Reproduction
  • Stem cells
  • Trade-offs between traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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