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Coral spawning 2011 3 May 2011

Posted by cat64fish in Tales from the N2 bar.
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It’s that time of the year again, when corals get all giddy with anticipation for the BIG EVENT of their lives -it’s time for SEX!!

Mass synchronous spawning was observed in Singapore only less than 10 years ago, and has been observed at Kusu Island, St John’s, Hantu, Semakau and Satumu. Usually occurring over Easter weekends, an orgy of eggs and sperm get released into the water to be fertilised and subsequently transformed into coral planula that drift away with the currents. Eventually they will settle and become part of the massive structure that is home to a multitude of organisms.

This year, we trooped off to Hantu and Semakau, after our request to visit Satumu was turned down. Over the course of 4 nights, Karenne organised about 20 people to look for spawning, documenting the event through photography. Each image captured a plethora of other information besides the visual: the genus and species of the coral spawning, what time it spawned, and how much.

The first night, we visited Hantu, and I was unfortunate to 1) get stung on my face by a jellyfish, and 2) suffer a completely blocked nose during the dive. I (obviously) missed the spawning that night, although Karenne was a bit disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm the corals showed. Nevertheless, I managed to get some nice shots during the dive:

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The neck of “One-barnacle Bob”.

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An octopus that was caught while free swimming on the surface. This photo was taken after it was released.

The observation on the second through the fourth nights were carried out at the south of Semakau, near NParks’ coral nursery site. I only joined on the last night, and it was fortunate to see some exciting action!

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Spawning!

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A Blue-spotted ribbontail ray dropped in to see what the fuss was about!

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A huge sea cucumber (possibly Stichopus variegatus)!

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An Eight-banded butterflyfish (Chaetodon octofasciatus, with night time colouration.

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Red egg crab (Atergatis integerrimus). Note the spoon-shaped tips of the claws, with which it scraps up algae.

Other photos and videos can be seen at my Flickr page.

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