Monday, October 20, 2008

August 2008, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

Hello dear coral lovers and
other curious,

This is a late post but late
is better than never. This August 2008 at Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, we
have been able to observe spawning of Acropora palmata.

It is worthy to note that although
we were on site 5 nights (from the 19th to the 23rd),
we were able to observe the coral spawning only when visiting the same
coral thicket, which occurred in 3 of the 5 nights, but was rewarded
each time with bundle release! The two other (unsuccessful) nights,
we visited very shallow thickets and isolated colonies.

I have not been able to take
any good picture, so I will only post the least uninteresting ones!

Here is a more detailed report
of the events:

Tuesday 19th.
No spawning was seen, neither were any bundles spotted in the water
column. This was a night where only isolated colonies in shallow water
(0.75 to 1.75 m) were observed.

Wednesday 20th.
Although we arrived too late to observe gamete release on the reef (around
9:30 pm), we observed abundant coral spawn in the water column around
the colonies. This reef is a shallow reef (1.5 to 2.25 m) with dense

Votre navigateur ne gère peut-être pas l'affichage de cette image.

Egg bundles can be spotted on the coral. Particles in the water are egg bundles and, well, particules.

Thursday 21st.
A different part of the reef was observed this night. Since it a bit
distant from the thicket where gametes were observed the night before,
we can only guess what happened on this day other there… For the sake
of Science, we will not!

Sadly, this was not a very good choice, since no spawning or bundles
were observed around the small thickets of large colonies in extremely
shallow water (0.5 to 1.25 m) that we decided to visit. It is worth
noting that once we got out of the water, a local snorkeler mentioned
the presence of egg bundles around close-by colonies.

Friday 22nd.
At the same shallow reef with dense thickets (1.5 to 2.25 m) observed
on Wednesday 20th, mass spawning occurred again! While the
spawning on the 20th was significant, spawning this night
of the 22nd (night after the full moon) was really impressive
and the reward of almost literally bathing in coral bundles was exhilarating!
Spawning activity was concentrated between 21:15 and 21:45 with a peak
around 21:25-21:30.

Saturday 23rd.
Again, coral spawned at the same reef, same hours and peak activities.
Releases were still very abundant but somehow fewer and slighter than
the previous night though it really seemed more than on the 20th.

This was a rather off-track
activity for us, since most lab members do not specialize in coral science
and no special project was ongoing. Curiosity was rewarded (by luck?)
and we hope to come back next year for more monitoring, it is a very
well conserved piece of reef, recently rediscovered, and in surprising
good health. Let’s hope it will stay so, there are some worrying construction
activities on the shore that seem to be taken care of by the local administration
but they will certainly need help.

Good luck to all and take care,

Pascal Mege, PhD student, University of Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras)

Votre navigateur ne gère peut-être pas l'affichage de cette image.

I would like to thank and remember Sergio who had to go on another
voyage in another life in the following days.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Palmata Spawn Observed in STT and STJ

Hello All,

I hoped to observe A. palmata spawn on St. Thomas and St. John, USVI, this year. I'm sorry to report that I observed no spawn at Flat Cay, St. Thomas, on tuesday, August 19, 2008 (between 8 and 10pm). I also observed no spawn at Hawksnest Bay, St. John, on both Wednesday, August 20th, and thursday, August 21st (between the times of 8:30 and 10pm). During the past several years, Dr. Caroline Rogers and others have observed the elkhorn colonies at Hawksnest Bay and have observed little spawn. I'm glad to see that others are seeing the spawn!

Allan Bright

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ap Spawn at Elbow

Last night (Friday Aug. 22) was the first night we were able to go out to look for spawn due to the lingering effects of Tropical Storm Fay which brought rough seas and very limiting visibility. We were stationed at Elbow Reef and had previously identified the 7 unique genets with ramets large enough to potentially spawn. We got in the water at 9:30 and immediately saw a few bundles set on one of the genets and approximately 15min later a few set bundles were observed on 2 other genets. A fourth genet on the next spur however had large numbers of set bundles. Collectors were placed over the set bundles and bundles released around 10:30 to 10:45. The numbers of bundles released from different genets did not allow multiple crosses but at least one cross/batch yielded excellent fertilization. More details to follow! (P.S. Special thanks to National Undersea Research Center for the XL boat and Captain Tim for taking us out!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Waiting for spawn

Lovely scenery while we are waiting (and hoping) for spawn. Seas are
calmer than we thought but visibility is still pretty low.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fay put the Kibosh on spawning (so far)

Tropical storm Fay passed over the Florida Keys the night before the first night planned for spawn collecting and the rough seas and high winds have not dissipated so we have missed all three nights that were most likely for spawning. We are hoping to go out on Friday Aug 22nd (night 6 after the full moon) which would normally be considered too late but we are hoping that the corals have been delayed too 8-(. Abel and I did some snorkel reconnaissance on Wednesday to see if it might be workable and he shot the video below. We were happy to find the Acropora in pretty good shape but as you can see the conditions are not exactly workable!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Spawning 2008

Hey fellow acropora-ites... just thought I would post a reminder that this blog is still 'up' and waiting for posts on any acropora spawning observations from this upcoming season!
Our BEAR (Benthic Ecosystem Assessment and Research) team will be monitoring 2 sites for Acropora palmata spawning in the upper florida keys on the nights of August 19, 20 and 21st. We will try to post promptly and hope to hear from others as this helps us know what to expect the next night. Happy spawning!