Bundles of eggs and sperm are released from an Acropora coral colony during an annual coral spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. During the spawning, coral polyps release tiny egg and sperm bundles simultaneously allowing the coral to reproduce and grow. This natural phenomenon usually occurs once a year, triggered by warm summer temperatures after a full moon. However this year, scientists witnessed a unique spilt spawning event.
Coral spawning is an essential process of a healthy reef, and also a critical time for scientists to collect the data needed to help protect coral reefs in a changing ocean. Spawning provides scientists opportunities to increase knowledge. Due to warming ocean temperatures, scientists are unsure how climate change will impact spawning events and survival of coral reef ecosystems into the future