Coral Recruit - New Caledonia
Coral recruitment, that is, the birth of a new coral colony on the reef from the settlement and metamorphosis of a larva, and its survival, is a key process for the resilience of coral reefs.
Since 2011, we monitor annually the abundance and composition of coral recruits on a dozen reefs distributed along a coast-to-ocean gradient in New Caledonia to better understand the contribution of coral recruitment to coral community dynamics, and anticipate potential declines in coral reproduction success. The surveys are performed by deploying during the coral spawning period artificial substrates, 11 × 11 cm terracotta tiles (c.f. photo), where develop the young corals. The abundance and composition of the recruits is then recorded by major coral family under microscope.
Artificial Substrate ©Moshen Kayal
Coral recruit (macro shot) ©Tristan Berre
Our results show pronounced spatio-temporal variability of coral recruitment, with the highest recruitment rates reported in the world, which represents a major asset for the health and the capacity of Neocaledonian coral reefs to persist despite disturbances (c.f. video).