The full moon last week was not only perfect for couples in Malaysia but also provided the trigger for corals to spawn, releasing thousands of eggs and sperm into the water. Throughout Malaysia, divers and snorkelers collected data on coral spawning across various islands to help Reef Check Malaysia understand the nature, timing and even species of spawning.
Reef Check Malaysia, a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting reefs, reached out to dive operators and the diving community for assistance to collect data. The response was encouraging. For one week, groups around Malaysia organised themselves to monitor the mass coral spawning, an annual event for the many corals that reproduce only once a year.
According to Mr Alvin Chelliah, Programme Manager of Reef Check Malaysia,
“The data not only helps us understand the nature of spawning, but also provides crucial information to help manage coral reefs effectively. If we know when and where the spawning takes place, we can map out corridors to protect corals during this process, thus helping them to propagate and increase in population.”
Sexual reproduction is important to the recovery and persistence of coral reefs. Most corals are broadcast spawners, releasing eggs and sperm into the water for external fertilization and subsequent larval development. The timing of coral spawning varies according to locations and species. Spawning is often influenced by environmental factors, such as the full moon, which act as timing cues to allow corals to synchronise reproduction and maximise the chances of cross fertilisation. To-date, very little study has been conducted on coral spawning in Malaysia.
Source: BandWidth Magazine