Jessica Bouwmeester, Darren J. Coker, Tane H. Sinclair‐Taylor, Michael L. Berumen
Ecosphere 12(1):e03340, (2021)
Cauliflower coral, Daytime spawning, Middle East, New moon spawning, Pocilloporidae, Reproductive timing, Scleractinia, Sexual reproduction
Coral spawning is a fundamental process in the preservation of coral reef systems. However, reproductive information is still rare for many coral species and across a number of locations. No reproductive information is yet available from the western coast of the central and southern Red Sea. We document here the daytime spawning of Pocillopora verrucosa across the two coasts of the central Red Sea, in Saudi Arabia on the eastern side and in Sudan on the western side. In both sites, P. verrucosa released its gametes in the morning, 1–2 d before the new moon, within a 25‐day window between mid‐May and mid‐June, matching other known observations from the east coast of the central Red Sea. Spawning followed a period of rapidly changing sea surface temperature. We here propose that given the reproductive synchrony of P. verrucosa across both coasts, the timing of coral spawning from other species is likely to be similar as well.