2017 Coral Spawning Predictions for Bonaire.
It is always this time of year when the thoughts of all divers on Bonaire (including those who have plans to visit shortly) turn to making babies. Baby corals, that is! August, September, and October are prime months to witness this miracle of undersea life as many invertebrates are spawning.
Spawning timetable for corals and other invertebrates.
Thanks again to Carmabi, and many years of divers providing eye-witness research, there is now a fairly accurate timetable which can assist with predicting when corals and other invertebrates will spawn in the southern Caribbean.
To see the spawning, and witness baby corals being made in the old-fashioned way, it is recommended to plan on spending lots of time underwater during prime spawning forecasts. STINAPA has specified these dates as being “hotspots” of potential spawning activity:
Most of our star corals spawn 6-8 nights after the full moon in September and/or October (when the sea surface temperature is the highest). Since the full moon falls on the evenings of September 5th (actually early morning on the 6th) and October 5th, the spawn will occur one week later. Those who have always wanted to see coral spawning for themselves, this October will be a good time to visit, and especially the night of October 12th! Both months will probably have spawning corals and different corals spawn at different times.
Coral gardening makes babies with new technology.
But luckily for the world’s coral reefs, making babies in the old-fashioned way is not the only manner anymore! Bonaire has been at the forefront of testing new technology which allows coral gardening with its Coral Restoration Foundation.
A new study from the University of Miami finds coral restoration efforts are beneficial.
According to a new study from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, coral gardening, the process of replanting laboratory-raised coral fragments to restore coral populations, is proving to be a benefit for Caribbean reefs. An article from CaribJournal recently cited the study:
The school said the research had important implications for the long-term survival of reefs worldwide, which have been in global decline. “Our study showed that current restoration methods are very effective,” said UM Rosenstiel school coral biologist Stephanie Schopmeyer, the lead author of the study.
According to the findings, “current restoration methods are not causing excess damage to donor colonies as a result of removing coral tissue to propagate new coral in the lab, and that once outplanted, corals behave just as wild colonies do.”
This was the first study to collect baseline coral restoration survival and productivity data at regional scales.
So, it really doesn’t matter if new corals are produced in the eons-old manner, or if they are propagated using today’s technology, the end result will be healthier reefs for the world, including Bonaire.
(Sources: Carmabi, CaribJournal, STINAPA)
Susan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.