Great Barrier Reef: Coral bleaching not a hindrance to underwater sex show
Coral bleaching is deemed not be a hindrance for the greatest underwater sex show on the planet. Great Barrier Reef tour operators are getting ready to head out tonight for the start of the annual coral spawning season. The once-a-year mass reproduction is usually triggered in October-November after a full moon.
Cairns-based Reef Teach marine biologist and owner Gareth Phillips predicted this year’s spawning to be split over two months with the second event to occur in mid-November. He said, “There has been good coral recovery from this year’s mass bleaching event in and around the Cairns region and on outer reefs further north. The event, the worst ever recorded on the natural attraction, resulted in overall coral mortality of 22 per cent.” He further expressed, “We’re still expecting a good spawning event because the Reef hasn’t had multiple bleaching events frequently and we are still optimistic that we’ll get a reasonable spawn”.
Mr.Philips said, “The concerns will be if these mass bleaching events keep happening every couple of years. No one really wants to have sex when they’ve got the cold or flu all the time. It’s that kind of idea.”
He iterated that the spawning season would provide chances for researchers to further examine the effect of bleaching on coral reproduction. He said, “There’s been a lot of work done with corals in captivity looking at this and this is why we do know that bleaching lowers coral’s reproductive success rate. Now we can study it out in the wild. There will be a lot of work being done. We should learn a lot from this event.”
Deep Sea Divers Den is preparing their vessel for four coral spawning trips this season. The first vessel is due to leave tonight. The Company spokeswoman Katherine Turner said their October and November trips had so far only half-filled with passengers.
She said that despite the mass bleaching, it had been a great year for the business. Ms.Turner further said, “Unfortunately, there has been terrible publicity about the Great Barrier Reef. But just in general, from marine management and from some of the crew and passengers on board, we’ve had nothing but really great feedback about the locations that we visit.”
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Source: The Cairns Post