Quicksilver Group NewsNovember 18th, 2011
Upside down snowstorm on the Reef – ticked off the bucket list!
Cairns, Great Barrier Reef: Mother Nature was on cue for the Great Barrier Reef’s annual coral spawning with passengers aboard Silverswift’s Night Dives excursions being witness to this unique spectacle.
From Great Adventures’ Norman Reef platform, groups of local and visiting divers and snorkellers were able to participate in guided tours for a once in a lifetime experience. Many excited passengers said seeing coral spawning was something to tick off their bucket list.
With the conditions just right, being about 4 to 6 nights after the full moon in November, with warm ocean waters and little tidal movement, Great Adventures General Manager Operations, Brian Cave, described the spectacle as an upside-down snowstorm as the corals release millions of eggs into the water.
While the most spawning was witnessed at the outer reefs on Thursday night (17 November), inner reef Green Island also experienced significant coral spawning the preceding night as many excited staff snorkelled and dived to experience the natural phenomenon.
Quicksilver marine biologist, Russell Hore, explains that while corals have two reproductive methods, asexual where the individual polyps split and divide to increase overall size of the colony, to maintain a consistently robust gene pool corals need to have a sexual phase to exchange genes. This process is known as coral spawning.
Images courtesy Satoshi Kagimoto, Indepth Video.