A marine biologist who has been documenting the annual synchronised spawning on the Great Barrier Reef for more than three decades says this year’s event is the best in six years.
Stuart Ireland from Calypso Productions emerged at the Sunlover Moore Reef pontoon last night with coral spawn blanketing the water around him.
“Maybe 30 species of hard and soft corals spawned in the space of just 90 minutes,” he said.
“Everything from plate corals to staghorn corals, crusty corals, a honeycomb coral and about six to seven species of Acropora spawned.”
Sunlover Reef Cruises marine biologist Pablo Cogollos described the pungent smell of the spawn as the smell of victory.
“One of the highlights that we filmed was a big boulder coral looking like it was smoking as very tiny eggs and sperm emerged from its small coral polyps.”
The previous night the soft corals at Moore Reef kicked off the annual event which happens each November between two to six nights after the full moon.
Mr Ireland said the special event showed that the Great Barrier Reef was resilient despite the challenges that man and climate change had thrown at the World Heritage Area.
“I enjoy filming the coral spawning every year as it gives me hope for the Great Barrier Reef.
“Despite the past bleaching events in 2016-2017, the fact we are seeing corals spawning means the functionality of the ecosystem is working, and while we see this, along with recruitment and regeneration, we can all have some hope about the Reef’s future.
“While we should all have hope that the Reef’s in-built resilience will prevail, the one thing I do stress is that as humans we need to minimise our impacts on the Reef so it can continue its natural cycles.”