Reef corals spend most of the year pretending to be underwater rocks, but for a few special minutes each September, late at night, they explode into effervescent life in an effort to reproduce.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - During a limited window of time, late at night in September each year, many of the corals in Cayman’s reefs spawn simultaneously, releasing eggs and sperm together to cross-fertilize and scatter in the current.
“One of the great lures of diving is that feeling of discovery - the thrill from seeing something that few others have,” says British marine biologist and underwater photographer Alex Mustard, explaining the lure of the annual coral spawning. “But as more and more people dive, rare treats are getting harder and harder to find.”
“We think that it’s tied to certain events or conditions, such as water temperature, the moon phase, and the ocean currents,” says Dr. Ellen...