Upside down snowstorm on the Reef!

Mother Nature was on cue for the Great Barrier Reef's annual coral spawning with passengers aboard Silverswift's Night Dive excursions being witness to this unique spectacle.

From Great Adventures' Norman Reef platform, groups of 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. In addition to experiencing the coral spawning, divers were able to see a whole new cast of nocturnal reef life.

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 most spawning was witnessed at the outer reefs on 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.

Coral Spawning Coral Spawning - 17th November 2011.

Images courtesy of Satoshi Kagimoto, Indepth Photography.