An underwater snowstorm is about to happen… It’s spawning time again. The annual coral spawning is predicted to occur at the Great Barrier Reef this week.
One of the more spectacular events taking place on the Great Barrier Reef is the mass spawning of coral. You have to be lucky to in the right spot, at the right time, but if you do: prepare to be amazed!
Mass coral spawning was only discovered 30 years ago, in 1981 in Australia. The ocean floor changes into a pink and white snow storm when great numbers of coral colonies synchronise the ejection millions of sperm and eggs. These reproductive packages find each other in the open ocean to produce offspring. New coral will form, which is extraordinary event of course! The eggs also float to the surface to form a thick, pink 'slick. Nature's 'idea' behind corals spawning all at once is perhaps that organisms that prey on larvae and coral eggs have some much to feed on at once that they can’t keep up. But who knows? Even scientists can’t agree on it. It is a one of nature’s mysteries...
When to be where?
The where bit is easy: it is all happening in Far North Queensland, at the Great Barrier Reef. This year, the mass spawning is predicted to be…well, right about now. Rising ocean temperatures, currents & tides, the cycle of the moon (4-6 days after a full moon) all play a role though, so it is hard to know exactly which night it will happen.
If you are in Queensland, going out for a few extra night dives or snorkel trips this week may pay off! Of course, with all that yummie sperm floating around, thousands of nocturnal fish come along to fill their tummies and this feeding frenzy by itself is worth watching!