Many of the coral species on the reefs around Bermuda reproduce during one or two mass spawning events during the summer months. The timing of these events is strongly tied to the timing of the full moon and the resulting tides. In 2009 a massive spawning event around the mid-August full moon resulted in large amounts of coral spawn (the released eggs and sperm) washing ashore on Bermuda's beaches. Coral spawn can be easily distinguished from marine pollution as it is orange-pink in colour, may smell slightly fishy and often the individual eggs can be seen with the naked eye. Occasionally it may appear as an oily slick on the sea surface.
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For more information see:
- The Coral Life Cycle (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences) http://www.bios.edu/research/CRRcycle.html
- The Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Assessment and Mapping Programme (BREAM)http://bermudabream.blogspot.com/2008/08/coral-spawning-slicks-take-over-south.html