Estrone and estradiol-17 beta concentration in tissue of the scleractinian coral, Montipora verrucosa. Academic Article uri icon


  • Spawnings of scleractinian corals are affected by light, temperature, and other environmental cues, but no studies elucidate physiological mechanisms that regulate coral gametogenesis. We hypothesized that estrogens may act as bioregulators of coral reproduction. Estrone (E1) and estradiol-17 beta (E2) concentrations were measured in homogenates of tissue and skeleton from M. verrucosa. Tissue samples were collected monthly throughout the year, and more frequently in July and August around spawning. Steroids were extracted with diethyl ether, purified via celite chromatography and assayed with radioimmunoassay. Non-specific binding in coral tissue varied with sample weight and was elevated relative to standards. Monthly mean E1 ranged from 20-70 ng E1 g ash-free dry weight (AFDW)-1, with highest values in April. Smaller asynchronous peaks occurred in early July, prior to spawning. Monthly mean E2 ranged from 8-25 ng E2 g AFDW-1, with highest values in February and March. Peaks in E2 preceded peaks in E1, indicating metabolism of a pool of estrogen. E1 was positively correlated with protein concentration, which is consistent with a bioregulatory role of estrogens. Estrogen peaks in spring and prior to the July spawn corroborate our hypothesis that estrogens regulate coral gametogenesis and spawning.

publication date

  • January 1999