The Helix Experiment: Dispersal and recruitment patterns in Great Barrier Reef corals


Temporal Range: From 25-Oct-1983 To 25-May-1984

Resource Summary

Settlement plates were deployed at Helix Reef immediately prior to the 1983 coral spawning period, to obtain numerical data on patterns of coral recruitment, including species composition, abundance and mortality rates. Twenty-four moorings were deployed around Helix Reef at 0, 0.3, 0.6, 1.2, 2.5 and 5.0 km from the reef perimeter along four arms forming counterclockwise spiral paths. Racks of five settlement plates (600 cm² discs of coral skeleton), were mounted on each mooring at two depths: shallow (15-18 m below the surface) and deep (4 m above the bottom). The racks were free turning with vanes which enabled the plates to be oriented into the current.

After 7 months the settlement plates were retrieved, wrapped in plastic and frozen at -18°C. Once thawed, non-coral epibiota were removed and the plates were cleaned with a water jet and then oven dried at 55°C. Coral spat were identified using a dissecting microscope, with taxonomic resolution varying between suborder and species.

Spat were assessed for condition (alive or dead), discernable through infestation by endolithic green algae or overgrowth by other epibiota. Coral recruits were also assessed for condition and post settlement mortality. Condition was recorded as one of the following: skeleton intact and remnants of tissue evident; coral overgrown by another sessile organism; skeleton physically damaged; both overgrown and damaged; complete colony mortality.

Water movements were recorded concurrently using current meters and tide gauges.

This research was initiated to determine whether reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef are primarily self-seeded with respect to corals.

For more information on the physical oceanographic component of this project, see the metadata record "The Helix Experiment: Helix Reef physical oceanography, Great Barrier Reef"

Scleractinian coral recruit taxa found on settling plates: Acropora; Alveopora a; Caryophyllid a, b, c; Favia a; Faviid h; Fungiid b, c; 'Fungiinid' a; Millepora (Hydrozoa); Mussid b, c; Pocilloporid a, Pocillopora; Porites a; Seriatopora, Seriatopora hystrix; Stylophora.

Constraints
Resource Usage:

Use of the AIMS data is for not-for-profit applications only. All other users shall seek permission for use by contacting AIMS. Acknowledgements as prescribed must be clearly set out in the user's formal communications or publications.

Security classification code: unclassified


Cite this Record
Copy
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). 2009, The Helix Experiment: Dispersal and recruitment patterns in Great Barrier Reef corals, https://apps.aims.gov.au/metadata/view/9015c630-c4ea-40c5-91fc-28cd3117fe9f, accessed 18-Jun-2019
Related Information
The Helix experiment: differential localized dispersal and recruitment patterns in Great Barrier Reef corals: Sammarco PW and Andrews JC (1989) The Helix experiment: differential localized dispersal and recruitment patterns in Great Barrier Reef corals. Limnology and Oceanography 34: 896-912.
Influence of circulation on self-seeding patterns at Helix Reef - Great Barrier Reef: Andrews JC, Gay SL and Sammarco PW (1989) Influence of circulation on self-seeding patterns at Helix Reef - Great Barrier Reef. 2: 469-474. In: Choat JH (ed) Proceedings of the 6th International Coral Reef Symposium, Townsville, Australia 8-12 August 1988.
Localized dispersal and recruitment in Great Barrier Reef corals: the Helix experiment: Sammarco PW and Andrews JC (1988) Localized dispersal and recruitment in Great Barrier Reef corals: the Helix experiment. Science 239: 1422-1424.
Helix reef October 1983 - May 1984. Field survey - physical oceanography: Morrow RA and Andrews JC (1985) Helix reef October 1983 - May 1984. Field survey - physical oceanography. OS 85/02. Australian Institute of Marine Science. 30 p.