Engineering of coral reef larval supply through transplantation of nursery-farmed gravid colonies

Y. B. Horoszowski-Fridman, I. Izhaki, B. Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The continuous worldwide degradation of coral reefs raises an urgent need for novel active restoration techniques as traditional conservation practices have failed to impede the incessant reefs' decline. While applying the "gardening coral reefs" methodology in Eilat (Red Sea, Israel), we examined reproductive outputs of naturally-grown and outplanted, nursery-farmed Stylophora pistillata colonies from three coral-transplantation trials (November 2005, May 2007, and September 2008), along three reproductive seasons. Surprisingly, transplanted colonies showed better reproductive capacities than the natal Stylophora colonies during > 4 post-transplantation years. A higher percentage of nursery-farmed colonies released planula larvae as compared to naturally-grown colonies. Gravid transplants also shed more planulae per colony, yielding significantly augmented numbers of total planulae over naturally developed S. pistillata colonies. Our results indicate that nursery-grown corals may be used to enhance reef resilience by contributing to the larval pool, forming an engineered larval dispersal instrument for reef rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a project funded in partnership with NAF-IOLR and JNF-USA , the INCO-DEV project (REEFRES, no. 510657 ), CORALZOO , an EC Collective Research project, the AID-CDR ( C23-004 ) program (B.R.) and the Rufford Small Grants Foundation (Y.B.H.F.). The research fulfils part of the requirements for the doctoral degree by Y.B.H.F. at the University of Haifa. We thank Nathaële Rahmani for help in the field, the Meduza dive center staff for technical support, Guy Paz for assistance with graphics, Paz Eshel for grammatical advice and Leon Blaustein for valuable comments on the manuscript. [ST]


  • Coral reef
  • Coral reproduction
  • Resilience
  • Restoration
  • Stylophora pistillata
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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