Posts tagged ‘coral’

August 17, 2011

Awaiting the Spawn

Lunar cycles have a profound effect on the timing of events, often ones involving reproduction, in wildlife.

In the winter times in the Caribbean we have Grouper Moons, and in the late summer, we hold our breaths waiting for the coral to spawn a few days following a full moon.  We had such a full moon on August 13th, and researchers all across the Caribbean are camped out waiting, taking measured breaths on SCUBA tanks hoping to prolong their bottom time, to see the release of eggs and gametes from the coral heads.

So far, not a single watched site from Florida, to Mexico, to the farthest fringe of the Western Atlantic islands, has documented any spawning event.  SECORE, a group of researchers including professional aquarists from Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii, are one such group watching a patch of reef in Curacao, hoping to secure samples of coral larvae for later work in laboratory conditions involving rearing the little ones.  Another group from the University of Pennsylvania is also hoping to take home larvae, and even dedicated some of their updates recently to the on-site tank builds involved.

Maybe tonight will be the night!  We’ll have more here on the updates from the lab groups as the news continues to come in.  Cross your fingers!