Global disruption of coral broadcast spawning associated with artificial light at night

Davies, TW, Levy, O, Tidau, S, de Barros Marangoni, LF, Wiedenmann, J, D’Angelo, C and Smyth, TJ 2023 Global disruption of coral broadcast spawning associated with artificial light at night. Nature Communications, 14 (1).

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Coral broadcast spawning events - in which gametes are released on certain nights predictably in relation to lunar cycles - are critical to the maintenance and recovery of coral reefs following mass mortality. Artificial light at night (ALAN) from coastal and offshore developments threatens coral reef health by masking natural light:dark cycles that synchronize broadcast spawning. Using a recently published atlas of underwater light pollution, we analyze a global dataset of 2135 spawning observations from the 21st century. For the majority of genera, corals exposed to light pollution are spawning between one and three days closer to the full moon compared to those on unlit reefs. ALAN possibly advances the trigger for spawning by creating a perceived period of minimum illuminance between sunset and moonrise on nights following the full moon. Advancing the timing of mass spawning could decrease the probability of gamete fertilization and survival, with clear implications for ecological processes involved in the resilience of reef systems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Biochemistry and Observations
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 18 May 2023 09:24
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 09:24

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