Coral Spawning on The Great Barrier Reef happens only once a year and this year was no exception with many reported sightings. The Cairns Post reports!
Coral Spawning Phenomenon on the Great Barrier Reef
For Coarl Spwaning to occur generally speaking, the ocean temperatures has to be warm, normallt 2 to 4 nights after the full moon, very little tidal movement and little wind.... Mother Nature’s conditions this year were just right for the annual phenomenon known as Coral Spawning on the Great Barrier Reef.
Coral spawning has been unknown to science until 1982, when several marine biologists working on the Great Barrier Reef observed it in the wild for the first time.
This phenomenon as explained by Quicksilver Group marine biologist's press relaease in Cairns, Russell Hore, explains that "while corals have two reproductive methods, asexual where the individual polyps split and divide to increase overall size of the colony, to maintain a consistently robust gene pool corals need to have a sexual phase to exchange genes". This process is known as coral spawning.
“The majority of corals are hermaphrodites, which means they are both male and female at the same time. On the night of spawning, the polyps begin to expand out of their limestone cups and bundles of orange eggs can be observed. By synchronizing to reproduce at the same time, and putting most of their effort into a short period of the year, corals can maximize their reproductive effort. Everyone is aware of the day after coral spawning. There is usually an orange slick on the water that has a certain aroma, and all the plankton feeders have bulging stomachs from feasting on the leftover unfertilized eggs".
Living in Cairns now for almost 18 years I've poersonally witnessed Coral Spawning a number of times however only every captured it on film this year. If you are in Cairns duriing the month of November this is definitely a night trip to the reef that you must do. For more information please email us.