Sunday, August 5, 2012

To Spawn or not to Spawn?


Last night (8/4/12) TRUE went out to Molasses in order to collect staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) spawn from the once a year coral brodcast spawn. The staghorn on Molasses have been grown from fragments by The Coral Restoration Foundation, and transplanted onto the reef with the aid of an underwater apoxy.  Our first dive was at dusk and was intended so we could get to know the layout of the corals we would be monitoring.  Our dive leaders laid transect from near the anchor line to three coral sites, marked by strobes.  After the short 20 min dusk dive it was time to split into groups.

Six teams were created, A1 A2 A3 for the first shift and B1 B2 and B3 for the second shift.  The first teams dropped first for a 20 min dive, to be relieved by the second group of teams. While the first teams switched tanks, the second teams monitored the corals. While monitoring we needed to get as close to the corals as possible in order to observe if they were setting or not. Setting is the process which occurs immediately before spawning. Unfortunately, the spawn did not occur last night, and we came back empty handed, aside from some great encounters with a gigantic turtle, an octopus and squid. We will be back tonight to hopefully observe and collect the spawn!

Joseph Guerrera, East Lake High School Senior, Senior Explorer

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