Lesion regeneration in the branching coral Acropora palmata: Effects of colonization, colony size, lesion size, and lesion shape

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The regeneration of lesions caused by the fragmentation of Acropora palmata colonies was examined in the northern Florida Reef Tract, USA. The recovery of A. palmata lesions followed a negative exponential model. Lesion regeneration was influenced by the initial size and perimeter of lesions, but was not affected by the presence of colonizers or the size of the colonies or fragments bearing the lesions. Significant differences in regeneration rates were found among small (0-5 cm2), medium (5-10 cm2), and large (10-20 cm2) lesions. The largest lesions (>20 cm2) did not show a significant recovery over time. When the total area recovered during the first 30 d was normalized to initial perimeter length, both small and large lesions regenerated similar amounts of tissue. However, closure rates (the rate of movement of the growing lip towards the center of the lesion) were significantly faster for small lesions (7.3 [SE = 1.3] mm mo-1) compared to medium (4.9 [0.4] mm mo-1) and large (4.3 [0.3] mm mo-1) lesions. Results of this study support previous studies suggesting that the regeneration process is sustained by a limited, initial amount of energy that may be determined by the extent of damage experienced by the colony.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-215
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
StatePublished - May 12 2000



  • Acropora palmata
  • Coral fragmentation
  • Coral lesions
  • Lesion regeneration
  • Lesion size and shape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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