Success! Take a look at some of the footage (the action starts around 1:57):
At the East End of Grand Cayman, an underwater camera will capture live footage of a boulder star coral, Orbicella (Montastraea) annularis during its annual spawning event. The spawning is expected to occur from today, September 24, through Thursday, September 26. Due to the timing of the full moons in August and September, this year’s spawning is the latest recorded event in 10 years.
It’s rare to see a spawning even in person because it happens underwater at night, but now, for the first time ever, anyone with an internet connection and a big enough screen will be able to watch a this happen live.
You can see it happening here: Cayman Reef Cam.
Coral spawning is believed to be triggered by three main cues: rise in water temperature, lunar tidal cycles and circadian changes in light. These factors vary around the globe and different species spawn at different times in relation to the full moon so predicting the exact time and date can be extremely tricky.
The predictions for this spawning even were made from data collected by Alexander Mustard and Stephen Broadbelt, who began collecting data on M. annularis and several other species nearby. They collected data every year since then which resulted in a research paper and has helped in the prediction of other future spawning dates.
This amazing project was made possible by a collaboration of several groups, take a look:
- Gates Frontier Foundation
- Wild Goose Imaging
- Ocean Classrooms
- Ocean Frontiers
- Compass Point Dive Resort
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.