On the outermost part of the Great Barrier Reef, the annual coral spawning has begun, and experts are getting ready to examine the new generation of corals.
During the course of the night, several different kinds of soft corals and a few different kinds of hard corals started the process of regeneration by spawning for a few hours. This caused the release of billions of tiny pink balls into the surrounding water.
When the sex cell bundles burst open, the released sperm and eggs collide with one other as they float on the currents of the Coral Sea. After colliding, the sperm and eggs eventually land on coral rubble to form baby corals.
On Friday evening, it is anticipated that a greater number of the magnificent hard corals would initiate the process of regeneration.
Over the past ten years, marine biologist Stuart Ireland has spent every year filming the spawning process that takes place at Moore Reef.
“After the past six years of strong growth, the coral cover and diversity at Moore Reef are very high, and the spawning in 2023 reflects this,” he added. “The spawning in 2023 will reflect this.” “Just like in the previous years, we witnessed the soft corals begin the process of spawning, and we spent a few hours watching as bundles of sperm and eggs were dispersed into the water.
“We will dive on Moore Reef again after the sun goes down tonight, and we expect to see the even more spectacular phenomenon of the hard corals starting the process of regeneration on the Great Barrier Reef.”
Dr. Abbi Scott is a researcher at James Cook University who is collaborating with business owners in the tourism industry to gain a better understanding of coral recruitment following the spawning event.
She stated that tiles were being dispersed throughout five reefs in order to provide a growing surface for newborn corals. They would be analyzed the next year in conjunction with data for coral larval dispersal models in order to gain a deeper comprehension of the connectivity of the reefs from where the coral larvae originated.
“This research will build knowledge of the relative variation in coral recruitment at each reef studied and how it differs for each of those reefs,” she added. “This research will be conducted over the course of several years.”
Coral spawning typically takes place on the outer reefs off the coast of Cairns and Port Douglas two to six nights after the full moon in November, when water temperatures are between 27 and 28 degrees Celsius.
There was a full moon at the end of October, and there will be another one at the end of November, therefore there may be a split spawn after both moons this year.