Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Corals Get Set to Spawn in One Go

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Corals Get Set to Spawn in One Go

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Williams tom.williams@dailymercury.com.au

THEY only have sex once a year and unfortunately it isn't pretty to look at, but it is one of the Great Barrier Reef's most impressive natural wonders.

If you look out to the crystal clear waters of the Whitsundays and notice something that looks like a giant oil spill, don't worry, it is just the coral of the reef making love.

For a few nights each year, the reef's hard corals indulge in a mass spawning as coral sperm and eggs float to the surface.

Fantasea Cruises marine biologist Emily Smart believes that this year, the nights of November 15, 16 and 17 are the most likely for the spawning.

aIt usually occurs in November after the full moon, creating a feeding frenzy among other marine creatures,a she said.

aBecause there is so much coral spawn, not all of it is eaten and some eggs will survive to be fertilised and settle on a reef, growing into a new coral colony,a she said.

Most corals are hermaphrodites. …

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