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Review on hard coral recruitment (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) in Colombia

Author(s): Alberto Acosta | Luisa F. Dueñas | Valeria Pizarro

Journal: Universitas Scientiarum
ISSN 0122-7483

Volume: 16;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 200;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: recruitment | juvenile | coral | Scleractinia | structure | reef | Colombia | density | richness | monitoring.

Recruitment, defined and measured as the incorporation of new individuals (i.e. coral juveniles) into a population, is a fundamentalprocess for ecologists, evolutionists and conservationists due to its direct effect on population structure and function. Because most coralpopulations are self-feeding, a breakdown in recruitment would lead to local extinction. Recruitment indirectly affects both renewal andmaintenance of existing and future coral communities, coral reef biodiversity (bottom-up effect) and therefore coral reef resilience. This process has been used as an indirect measure of individual reproductive success (fitness) and is the final stage of larval dispersal leading to population connectivity. As a result, recruitment has been proposed as an indicator of coral-reef health in marine protected areas, as well as a central aspect of the decision-making process concerning management and conservation. The creation of management plans to promote impact mitigation, rehabilitation and conservation of the Colombian coral reefs is a necessity that requires firstly, a review and integration of existing literature on scleractinian coral recruitment in Colombia and secondly, larger scale field studies. This motivated us to summarize and analyze all existing information on coral recruitment to determine the state of knowledge, isolate patterns, identify gaps, and suggest future lines of research.
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