Coral Spawning Success 

 


Coral Spawning Success

When Coral Restoration Foundation outplanted its first nursery-raised staghorn corals at a ship grounding site off Molasses reef called the “Wellwood” site. In 2009, we made history as the Wellwood corals were the first documented nursery-raised corals to spawn.

Since there, we’ve worked to develop successful rearing techniques from spawning events. In 2014, we recorded successful coral spawning at multiple locations, including our Tavernier coral tree nursery and Molasses Reef.

What Is Coral Spawning?

In August, sometime around the full moon, coral will synchronously broadcast spawn up and down the Florida Reef Tract. Each individual polyp making up a coral colony will release many bundles of egg and sperm into the water column where they float to the waters’ surface. Once released from the coral, the bundles break apart in the water column so that the egg and sperm from different corals can mix, fertilize one another, and create what is known as a planula larvae.

After some time, it will develop the ability to swim and eventually will seek a suitable place to settle on the reef to begin the next stage in its life.  Once settled, the larvae develop coral polyps that then grow to become a mature coral colony. This process is vital in providing variety for genetic strains of coral.  This variety is referred to as genetic diversity and aids in the overall persistence of coral populations.