Coral spawning is one of the Whitsundays most breathtaking natural phenomenon. This highly anticipated event occurs every year, coinciding with the November/ December full moon. Coral spawning is particularly exciting as it is evidence that the Great Barrier Reef is healthy and will continue to thrive into the future, particularly after the impact Cyclone Debbie had on the reef, it is encouraging to see areas like Daydream Island spawning more coral than previous years.
Coral Spawning Explained
So, what is coral spawning? Said to resemble an underwater snowstorm, coral spawning involves eggs and sperm bundles being released into the water simultaneously. While we know that spawning occurs after a full moon and when water temperatures reach approximately twenty-six degrees or more, predicting exactly when it will occur is not an exact science.
“What is known is that the phenomenon only happens at night, after rising water temperatures have stimulated the maturation of gametes (the egg and sperm) within the polyps. And they usually occur over several days to just over a week after a full moon. It’s thought corals may be able to sense using primitive photoreceptors, although the time of year depends on location.”
Other factors that influence the timing of coral spawning include the tide height, salinity levels and the number of daylight hours. Coral spawning ‘snowstorms’ aren’t all white either; there are clouds of orange, red and yellow as well.
Whitsundays Annual Coral Spawning 2018
2018 has been a stellar year for coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef. Daydream Island’s Marine Biologist and Reef Manager, Johnny Gaskell, was lucky enough to witness the event while diving:
This coral spawning video captures the rarely-seen coral spawning phenomenon
Sail The Whitsundays This Christmas
Want to get away from it all this Christmas? Queensland Yacht Charters is offering discounted yacht charter rates until the 19th of January. Experience the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and spend quality time with family and friends away from the usual Christmas craziness. Not sure which vessel you need? Talk to our friendly reservations team who will help you find the perfect yacht to sail away in over Christmas and New Year.