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LOOK: The Great Barrier Reef and Its Annual Mating Festival

Nov 23, 2016 07:11 AM EST
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A truly remarkable annual event, corals in the Great Barrier Reef have a mass spawning at about the same time every year. It has been dubbed as the Great Barrier Reef's "annual mating season" since it is when almost all the corals around the area mass-reproduce.

Coral spawning is a process by which coral polyps release tiny egg and sperm into the water. What the scientists have researched is that if all corals do this at the same time, there would be a higher likelihood of fertilization. And interestingly, this spawning occurs during a full moon and only after a certain water temperature has been reached. They have also recorded the height of the tide and the salinity levels of the water and have noticed a significant trend.

It started at around 7:30 p.m. local time on November 21, 2016 and is expected to continue for a few days to a week. It takes long because different species release eggs at different times and days to possibly avoid inter-spawning or hybrids.

It has also been noted that the tiny, newly formed corals known as a planula will float around at first but then find the best spot to grow into, mostly made up of algae they could feed on. In the next few years, when more spawning occurs, this small coral will start to form a colony.

It is impressive how nature works and how little mankind has control over such spectacular events such as this. However,  a report from BBC noted that the life of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened due to man-made destructions. Being thousands of years older than mankind, future generations may not witness this one-of-a-kind event. 

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