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Nature Calendar - December

CORAL SPAWNING

Four hundred coral species, both soft and hard corals, call the Great Barrier Reef home.

The simultaneous mass spawning of corals on the Great Barrier Reef occurs during this time of year. Coral spawning is the reproduction of coral and was first scientifically observed in 1981.

The process begins 6 months before when eggs and sperm begin to form inside the coral polyps. However, for spawning to actually take place, water temperatures must be 27 degrees or higher.

Corals make an effort to spawn at the same time in order to increase opportunities for fertilisation. Mass spawning also overwhelms the appetite of predators. Developing larvae (planula) are swept off to begin new reefs. A planula attaches itself to a vacant patch of reef and starts to grow as the founder polyp for a new coral colony.

Coral spawning is a once in a lifetime experience.
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