Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Spatio-temporal variation in the growth of coral fragments of opportunity in the Eastern Tropical Pacific: implications for coral reef restoration


coral reef restoration; eastern tropical Pacific; fragments of opportunity; growth rate; marine ecology; Pocillopora.
restauración de arrecifes de coral; Pacífico oriental tropical; fragmentos de oportunidad; tasa de crecimiento; ecología marina; Pocillopora.

How to Cite

Rodríguez-Troncoso, A. P., Tortolero-Langarica, J. J. A., Padilla-Guzmán, R., Kelly-Gutiérrez, L. D., & Cupul-Magaña, A. L. (2023). Spatio-temporal variation in the growth of coral fragments of opportunity in the Eastern Tropical Pacific: implications for coral reef restoration. Revista De Biología Tropical, 71(S1), e54850.


Introduction: Coral- reef communities are considered one of the most biodiverse, but also most threatened, marine ecosystems, and the accelerating loss of habitat over the past decades warrants active intervention. 

Objective: The present study demonstrates the successful implementation of a low-impact restoration technique in three Central Mexican Pacific degraded coral communities, using a protocol based on natural fragmentation (“fragments of opportunity”) of the branching coral Pocillopora spp., considered the most abundant and primary carbonate-producing coral species of the Eastern Tropical Pacific. 

Methods: The restoration program was implemented in two offshore and one inshore coraline areas. The relationships between seawater temperature and coral survival, growth, and attachment rate were assessed over one year, with 183 fragments monitored each month. 

Results: The mean coral growth rate was 3.3 ± 0.1 mm mo-1, with annual growth rates in length and width of 39.9 ± 14.2 and 36.5 ± 19.5 mm yr-1, respectively. Self-attachment efficiency was 78 % and the survival rate was high (84 %). The growth rate differed significantly among reefs. 

Conclusions: Upon monitoring directly fragmented corals over a year, growth rates were deemed high enough to merit active restoration in the region. However, our data show that structural and abiotic differences and seasonal variability must be considered overall in successful long-term coral community restoration initiatives in the eastern Pacific region.


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