Coral Spawning at The Great Barrier Reef Offers Great Hope for Ecosystem
Scientists documented an event wherein billions of corals were seen spawning off the coast of Cairns, Queensland
Billions of corals were witnessed spawning at the coast of Cairns, Queensland. The spawning event of corals in the Great Barrier Reef is indeed a regeneration of hope for the world’s largest coral reef system, which has been bearing the brunt of global warming-caused ocean acidification for the past few years.
The coral reef is an underwater ecosystem, which is known to be home to thousands of species. The revival of hope seems to have the optimism of greeting the tourists again. The occurrence reflects the happiness of people who were badly troubled by the Covid-19 constraints.
Gareth Phillips, a principal marine scientist at Reef Teach – environmental research and educational organization that has been studying the Great Barrier reef since 1992, said;
Nothing makes people happier than new life – and coral spawning is the world’s biggest proof of that. We are coming out of restrictions with a fresh leap of life just as the reef is spawning.
Once a year, corals reproduce by releasing tiny balls consisting of sperm and eggs up into the water. Once released, these balls break apart and the sperm and eggs cross-fertilize to birth new coral progenies.
Phillips has been watching coral spawning for the past decade, the process usually takes place at night time. This year, the visuals of the billion emerging corals were breathtaking. He further explains;
I’ve seen the corals all go off at once, but this time there seemed to be different species spawning in waves, one after the other. The conditions were magical with the water like glass and beautiful light coming from the moon.
The rising climate crisis has had a devastating impact on the corals. The increased temperature results in coral bleaching, which has become an annual occurrence. According to a study, mass bleaching events have left only two percent of the total reefs unharmed.
Supposedly, the unexpected spawning event is a result of the 18 months of border closures due to the new coronavirus in Australia. Coral reefs not only provide a thriving ecosystem for marine life but also protect coastal areas by dipping the power of waves striking the coasts. Along with this, it is a significant source of livelihood for millions of people.