Friday, May 11, 2012

We have witnessed the elusive coral spawning event this week !



We were lucky enough to observe coral spawning in-situ. 


Thanks to our guests who provided this photograph of
coral spawn underneath their villa. 
Coral spawning is a magnificent event of an enormous scale. Within just a few nights of the year virtually all corals spawn, putting on an amazing underwater firework-like display of coral gametes, creating pink slicks of billions of coral eggs on the surface.


This is the second spawning event of 2012 in Maldives following the spawning event in April. The spawning events in two subsequent months is still a norm and sometimes does happen.



What happens ? 


A  couple of nights after the full moon; when the tides slacken and the currents are minimal all the corals spawn in a synchronised manner called "broadcast spawning".  In the evening, during the low water slack tide, they all release sperm and eggs in to the water column. The absence of currents allows more time for successful fertilisation to happen, and the incoming tide later washes the fertilised eggs back into the ocean, where they will be taken far away from their "home reef", to settle and colonise new areas.



A glass of water with a story ! 



Coral reefs are the largest living structures on the planet, and yet it all begins with minuscule coral eggs, the small pink dots that you see in this glass of ocean water...




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