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Corals


Corals
u Corals reproduce in 2 ways: asexual reproduction, mostly through fragmentation, and sexual reproduction, where they produce egg and sperm. Most corals are hermaphrodites, and they produce egg and sperm simultaneously.

u Some corals are only male, and some corals are only female. Some corals that are only male or female are that sex one summer and then will switch to the other sex the next summer.
Corals

u Most of them are simultaneous hermaphrodites, meaning that they produce egg and sperm at the same time, and they will usually release that in an egg-sperm bundle that floats to the surface of the water, where it will then break apart. When the bundle breaks apart, the sperm is activated, starts swimming around to look for an egg, and hopefully finds an egg of the same species of coral. Then, they fertilize, at which point you have a fertilized egg, or basically an embryo, the beginnings of a new baby coral.
u While asexual reproduction is good for reproducing the number of corals, it doesn’t do anything for the genetic diversity of the population, which also matters. Sexual reproduction, just as in any other organism, is what helps keep the spreading of the genetic diversity of that population.
u One thing that sexually reproducing corals have in common with many invertebrates is that they are producing more eggs, sperm, and larvae than will ever possibly settle and become adults. Broadcast spawners can release thousands or even millions of gametes, only a few of which will manage to achieve fertilization. And only a few of those will survive to become larvae, and only a few of those larvae will survive to become adults.