Each year, researchers from all over the world come together in August in coral nurseries off the coast of Florida to witness one of the most stunning events in nature, coral spawning. This multi-institutional task force meets every year to help the Coral Restoration Foundation as they hope develop a better understanding of Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) and its sexual reproduction as they work to help restore this coral in its natural habitat.
What draws everyone together is the annual coral spawn where sometime around the full moon, coral will synchronously broadcast spawn up and down the Florida Reef Tract. Each coral polyp releases bundles of both egg and sperm that break up in the water column to allow sperm and eggs from difference coral to mix, fertilize and aplanula larvae. The aplanula larvae actually begin to swim to find a new place to call home and begin its next stage in life.
We’ve been watching our Facebook feeds in anticipation for this year’s event and were excited to see video thanks to the California Academy of Sciences’ Richard Ross, enjoy!