Barbados Blue will be volunteering to take part in the Coastal Zone Management Unit’s coral spawning survey on Tuesday September 8th and Saturday September 12th. Have a look through the information below and send us an email, or meet us at CZMU on Monday the 7th at 6 pm for more info.

The information below is available from International Year of the Reef 2008

Coral Reproduction 101

Many coral species reproduce once or twice each year. Most coral species spawn by releasing eggs and sperm into the water, but the period of spawning varies from one species to another. When an egg and a sperm meet they form a larva known as a planula. The baby coral looks like a little tiny jellyfish and floats around near the surface at first, and then in the water column until it finds a suitable space to call home – usually a hard surface to attach to. Other limited distribution coral species are brooders. This is where only male gametes are released into the water, then taken in by female coral animals containing egg cells. Fertilization occurs inside the female coral, and a small planula develops inside it. This planula is released through the mouth of the female coral and drifts or crawls away to settle elsewhere and grow into a new colony.

Coral spawning happens at the same time each year and appears to be related to the lunar cycle. This allows scientists and divers the opportunity to observe this magnificent phenomenon, along with all the fish and predators that come to feed on them.

We will be observing Acroporid corals (Elkhorn/Staghorn) 2 days after full moon on the 8th ant 9th and Star corals 4 days after full moon on the 10th – 12th of September.  Cross your fingers for us that we get our own pictures this time around.  Some examples of what we are looking for…

Acroporid spawning

Acroporid spawning

Acroporid spawning photo credits to:

Star coral spawning

Star coral spawning

Star Coral spawning photo credits to:

The two nights will run from 5:30 pm – 10 pm (long haul) so we will have good friends and refreshments on board.  Can anyone say hot coffee? We need minimum of 6 divers per night, let us know soon.   Additionally if one of our nights does not suit you but you want to take part there will be other vessels out on the 9th, 10th and 11th.  There should be room for everyone!

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