Florida's Coral Reef Spawning

By: Terry Tomalin


Scuba divers in the Florida Keys will get a rare treat on the August and September full moons when the area’s coral reefs undergo a mass spawning. It is a roll of the dice when the mass release of millions of gametes will take place, but that won’t stop adventurous souls from staking out a patch of reef to wait for nature’s show.

This annual "broadcast spawning" is believed to maximize the chances that the coral larvae wills survive to add to the reef. What exactly triggers this event is unclear, but scientists believe that the phenomenon may be linked to water temperatures and tidal cycles.

Though nobody knows for sure when the polyp release will happen, recent history has shown that divers should hit the water on the upcoming full moons, which are Tuesday, Aug. 24, and Thursday, Sept. 23.

Divers can check with local dive operators about participating in coral spawning night dives scheduled around those dates. In addition to coral reproduction, coral restoration is an attraction for people who love the reef. Amoray Dive Resort is offering a combination of coral transplanting seminars, restoration dives and (potential) coral spawn night dives Aug. 11-13 as well as Aug. 26 through Sept. 2, when world-famous underwater naturalists Ned and Anna DeLoach are to host their third annual sea critter seminars.

For more information on diving in the Florida Keys, click here.

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