The annual coral spawning event at the Great Barrier Reef, east of Cairns, has begun The yearly occurrence of coral spawning has started on the eastern side of the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns.
The yearly process of coral reproduction has commenced in the outer portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists will be studying the future offspring of corals.
On Thursday night, divers recorded the breeding process of soft corals at Moore Reef, located 47km east of Cairns.
During the night, a multitude of small pink spheres burst into the water, while various types of soft corals and a few hard corals initiated their regeneration by spawning for a brief period.
The reproductive cells are released from their bundles and come into contact with each other as they drift along the currents of the Coral Sea. They eventually settle on coral debris and develop into young corals.
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On Friday evening, we anticipate an increase in the regeneration of stunning hard corals.
Stuart Ireland, a marine biologist, has recorded the spawning occurrence at Moore Reef annually for the past ten years.
“The coral coverage and diversity at Moore Reef have significantly increased over the past six years due to strong growth, as evidenced by the 2023 spawning event,” stated the researcher. “Like previous years, we witnessed the soft corals beginning the spawning process and spent several hours observing the release of sperm and eggs.”
“We plan to revisit Moore Reef tonight after sunset, where we anticipate witnessing the stunning sight of hard corals beginning the process of regrowth on the Great Barrier Reef.”
Dr. Abbi Scott, a researcher at James Cook University, is collaborating with tourism operators to gain insight into coral recruitment following the spawning event.
She stated that tiles were being dispersed among five reefs to facilitate the growth of baby corals. These findings will be examined next year, along with data from coral larval dispersal models, in order to gain a better understanding of how the reefs where the larvae originated are connected.
She stated that this study will enhance our understanding of the varying levels of coral recruitment among the studied reefs and the differences between them.
“It would be beneficial to provide updates on assisted coral recovery efforts and assist operators in managing their valuable tourist destinations.”
The phenomenon of coral spawning typically happens on the outer reefs near Cairns and Port Douglas between two to six nights after the full moon in November, when the water temperature is around 27-28C.
At the conclusion of October, there was a complete lunar phase and there will be another at the end of November. This could potentially lead to a divided spawning pattern after both moons.