Bassim et al. (2002) studied the effects of water temperature on the reproduction of Diplora strigosa in the Flower Garden Banks reefs, a set of coral reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico, ~110 miles offshore of Texas (U.S.A.): Although elevated seawater temperatures had no apparent effect on success of gametic fertilization in this species, the rate and progress of embryonic larval development were significantly negatively affected. Higher temperatures commonly produced numerous developmental aberrations during the development of the larvae. Thus, although fertilization rates can remain high under high temperature conditions, if temperatures remain high for several days, embryonic development and larval viability may be expected to decrease dramatically. The authors propose that the success of coral larval development may be diminished in areas where abnormally high sea surface temperatures occur during the spawning season.
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