Mass Spawning - NW Gulf Mex.
sgittings at ocean.nos.noaa.gov
Tue Sep 12 18:07:18 EDT 1995
Observations of coral reef spawning at the Flower Garden Banks, NW Gulf of
Mexico, August 14 - August 22, 1995.
Compiled by Steve Gittings and Ken Deslarzes
Flower Garden Banks NMS
1716 Briarcrest Dr., Suite 603
Bryan, TX 77802
Phone: (409) 847-9296
Email: sgittings at ocean.nos.noaa.gov
The following provides details of spawning observations reported by scientists
and recreational divers who participated on cruises between August 14 and 25,
1995 in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Quotation marks
indicate dive descriptions of their observations.
Be on the lookout for a possible September 16 coral spawning event following
the September 8 (2338 hrs) full moon.
August 14, 1995
Night time observation: possible spawning by Mussa angulosa a red material
was seen streaming from a polyp. It was uncertain whether it was from the
coral or from something between the polyps. Photographs were taken by a
recreational diver and hopefully, will be forwarded to the Sanctuary.
August 15, 1995 - no diving operations were conducted.
August 16, 1995 (East Flower Garden Bank)
1930 hrs: Spawning by one male Montastrea cavernosa.
2120 hrs: Spawning by female Montastrea cavernosa colonies. One Christmas
Tree Worm (Spirobranchus giganteus) was seen spawning ("spiral of smoke"),
probably a male, based on diver description.
2130-2230 hrs: Montastraea franksi spawned in abundance, but less than in
2130-2230 hrs: Coral gamete bundles were observed at the sea surface.
2245 hrs: A Rough Fileclam (Lima scabra) released a "cloud". The fileclam
shot the material out during one pulse. The cloud dissipated in about 10-15
August 17, 1995 (East Flower Garden Bank)
0011-0020 hrs: A few coral gamete bundles were spotted on the surface at 0011
hrs. The coral spawning pulse reached a peak at 0020 hrs, but subsided to nil
before 0030 hrs.
1630 hrs: Two Bar Jacks (Caranx ruber) were seen spawning.
2050-2128 hrs: Numerous male Montastrea cavernosa colonies spawned.
2103 hrs: Several Diploria strigosa colonies spawned.
2110 hrs: Call from the M/V Fling at the West Flower Garden Bank reporting
coral spawning had begun.
2112 hrs: Egg release by Montastrea cavernosa .
2115 hrs: Diploria strigosa and two Christmas Tree Worms were seen spawning.
2130 hrs: One huge female Montastrea cavernosa colony was seen spawning.
2130-2230 hrs: M. franksi spawned in abundance, also one small Diploria
strigosa colony spawned. Ruby Brittle Stars (Ophioderma rubicundum) were out
on the coral heads but none were seen spawning as has been witnessed in the
2300-0030 hrs: Spawning by numerous Montastraea faveolata.
Samples of Montastrea and Diploria were collected and processed for
August 18, 1995 (East Flower Garden Bank)
1630-1930 hrs: Bluehead Wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) were seen spawning.
Eight to eleven female Bluehead Wrasse, large in size, full adults, were seen
swimming very closely together within a 1 m2 area, 30 cm above the reef. One
supermale Bluehead Wrasse swimming in the periphery of the 1 m2 area, was seen
going into the school of females to then rush 30-40 cm above the school along
side a female. A brief (no more than a few seconds) and spontaneous release
of male and female gametes was seen.
1900 hrs: A "plump " Montastrea cavernosa colony was observed and another
with gametes present and visible in body cavity.
2145 hrs: Diploria strigosa was seen spawning.
2200-2220 hrs: M. franksi spawned in relatively low numbers.
2225-2305 hrs: Surface coral gamete slick observed.
2250 hrs and 2330 hrs : M. faveolata spawning.
August 19, 1995 (East Flower Garden Bank)
0100 hrs: No spawning activity was observed.
2045-2115 hrs: Active Colpophyllia natans spawning, dense surface gamete
2130-2300 hrs: One female Ruby Brittle Star was seen spawning.
August 20, 1995 (West Flower Garden Bank)
Daytime observation: Bluehead Wrasse were seen releasing gametes.
1900-2015 hrs: Christmas Tree Worms spawned. Both sperm and eggs release
August 21, 1995 (East Flower Garden Bank)
2130 hrs: A Diploria strigosa colony was seen spawning ("a seven to eight
minute release of pinkish eggs").
August 22, 1995 (West Flower Garden Bank)
1755 hrs: Montastrea cavernosa was seen spawning.
2115 hrs: Coral gamete bundles seen at the sea surface (not a dense slick).
2130-2230 hrs: No spawning activity seen on the bottom.
August 22, 1995 (East Flower Garden Bank)
2000 hrs: Creole Wrasse (Clepticus parrae) spawning rushes observed
SPAWNING ORGANISMS, INCLUDING CORALS, FISH, and INVERTEBRATES
Mussa angulosa (?) Aug 16
Caranx ruber Aug 17
Ophioderma rubicundum Aug 19
M. cavernosa Aug 16, 17, 22
Thalassoma bifasciatum Aug 16, 20
Spirobranchus giganteus Aug 16, 17, 20
M. franksi Aug 16, 17, 18
Clepticus parrae Aug 22
M. faveolata Aug 17, 18
D. strigosa Aug 17, 18, 21
C. natans Aug 19
CORAL SPAWN TIMING
Aug 16-17 1930-0020
Aug 17-18 2050-0030
Aug 18 2145-2330
Aug 19 2045-2115
Aug 21 2130
Aug 22 2115
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