ABC to live-broadcast AIMS coral spawning research

2 December 2020

The AIMS National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) will this week feature in a two-part live ABC television broadcast capturing the wonder of coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef.

As one of four broadcast locations for REEF LIVE, SeaSim, the world’s most sophisticated marine research aquarium, will open its doors, offering Australians the rare opportunity to witness coral spawning in real time.

Happening only a few nights a year on the Great Barrier Reef, between October and December when the moon is full, coral spawning is a spectacular natural phenomenon where coral sperm and eggs float to the surface of the ocean, fertilise and develop into larvae.

Coral spawning is the key reproductive event that replenishes coral reefs and provides a narrow opportunity for AIMS researchers to collect samples of coral larvae to study the reproductive biology.

This year, more than 40 million coral larvae are expected to be collected for research in SeaSim.

These will come from 389 coral colonies from 27 different species collected from nine different reefs from north of Lizard Island to the Keppels in the south. Many will be returned to their reefs after spawning.

Re-live last year's coral spawning excitement in the National Sea Simulator

In addition to these recently collected corals there are also spawning colonies, of various species, that have lived in SeaSim over the past four years, including second-generation colonies and hybrid corals, which SeaSim staff and AIMS researchers are expecting to spawn this year as well.

On the evenings of Friday December 4 and Sunday December 6, ABC presenter Dr Ann Jones will introduce viewers to the AIMS scientists leading the world in developing tools and approaches to enhancing coral reef recovery, adaptation and restoration.

Much of this research will underpin the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), the world’s largest collaborative effort to help the Great Barrier Reef resist, adapt to and recover from the impacts of climate change.

Find out more about what is happening in SeaSim for reef spawning in 2020


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