The Coral Reef is Spawning
If you’re travelling along Queensland’s beautiful coastline during October, November or December, you can witness a spectacular natural phenomenon that only occurs at this time of year – Coral Reef Spawning.
In early summer, corals of the Great Barrier Reef reproduce in a spectacular mass spawning event. Corals synchronise the release of tiny egg and sperm bundles when conditions are just right.
Sea temperatures, salinity levels, tide height and lengthening daylight are perfectly balanced at this time of year to enable corals of all species to spawn at the same time. The result is a visual treat that resembles an underwater snowstorm in clouds of red, orange and yellow.
Determining when spawning takes place relies on the conditions mentioned above, as well as time of night and coral location.
Spawning usually occurs 2 to 3 hours after sunset, before most nocturnal marine animals start to feed. Corals located close to the coastline generally spawn one to six nights after the first full moon in October, and corals located in the outer reef generally spawn after the full moon in November or December.
The annual release of these bundles at the same time, and the subsequent fertilisation event, ensures the growth and longevity of the reef, resulting in a new generation of corals ready to sprout. The event also provides a great feast for nocturnal aquatic species that inhabit the reef.
You can catch this unique event by booking a tour with a local dive specialist or reef cruise provider, with many located right up and down the coast. If you are planning a dive to view the spawning, you may need to enquire if specialist diving qualifications are required.
Your local caravan park is a great place to book a tour or dive through and they will be able to make recommendations on great tour companies based on the feedback they have received from other guests.
So get out on the reef and see the magic of this amazing natural phenomenon.
Photo credit – ABC News
Video credit – Queensland Blog