“A beautiful experience”: Coral planted in Great Barrier Reef four years ago spawns for first time “A beautiful experience”: Coral planted in Great Barrier Reef four years ago spawns for first time

The spectacular coral reproduction is a ‘milestone in our bid to maintain biodiversity’, according to researchers…
16 November 2022

New footage released earlier this week shows Australia’s first offshore coral nursery in the Great Barrier Reef releasing coral babies for the first time.

The phenomenon is called spawning, and involves thousands of tiny pink bundles of eggs and sperm bursting out from the bushy coral, creating the next generation of the underwater species.  

The Reef Restoration Foundation spearheaded the planting of the acropora coral at Fitzroy Island in North Queensland four years ago.

The restoration of these important habitats is part of efforts to tackle the issue of bleaching, caused by climate change and the warming of oceans. 

The divers above the surface (Reef Restoration Foundation / Tropical North Queensland)

The team took cuttings from a healthy coral reef system and planted them on underwater frames in this degrading patch of reef. The cuttings have now grown up to one metre in diameter.

One researcher calling the reproduction of the coral a “milestone in a bid to maintain biodiversity”. 

Marine biologist and Master Reef Guide Azri Saparwan, who assisted in the planting of the coral said: “Watching our coral babies reproduce for the first time to create the next generation of corals was a beautiful and humbling experience. The spawning was a showcase of how the Great Barrier Reef generates new coral recruits each year as part of its regeneration process.”

The coral has also provided a new habitat for tropical fish and turtles, but the challenge for the Great Barrier Reef is “far from over”.

Reef Restoration Foundation Chief Executive Officer Ryan Donnelly said: “In a changing climate, it is all about buying time and selling hope.  We need to drastically reduce global emissions, but at the same time work collaboratively to build the resilience of the places we love. We all have a role to play.”

The outer reef is expected to spawn again next month after the full moon.

For more information on how to join a spawning expedition, head to diversden.com.au

Watch the video below

Diver looking at coral spawning (Reef Restoration Foundation / Tropical North Queensland)
The coral bursting with tiny coral babies (Reef Restoration Foundation / Tropical North Queensland)

Explore More

More News