Frigid corals of Belize....

Peter J Mumby p.j.mumby at
Tue Aug 25 16:15:16 EDT 1998

Dear coral-listers

In response to the regional reports of coral spawning from the Western
Atlantic, I would like to add that corals of Glovers Atoll (Belize) seem to
be waiting until later in the year and may exhibit unusual spawning

A team from the University College of Belize and the Wildlife Conservation
Society observed patch reef and forereef sites at Glovers Atoll on the
evenings of 13th - 16th of August inclusive. We failed to observe any
spawning activity between the hours of 18:00 and 00:30 on the patch reefs
and nets set above the corals collected no eggs during any period (assuming
that the nets didn't interfere with spawning behaviour - which remains to
be proved). 

Curiously, fishermen report witnessing massive spawning events in October
and November as well as the expected months of August and September.
Further, several anecdotal reports suggest that spawning takes place in
early morning (ca 05:00 - 07:00) rather than late at night. Unfortunately,
we don't have precise dates to comment on the lunar periodicity of these
"morning spawns". One exception may be a recent report from staff of
Programme for Belize working near the main barrier reef. They reported
finding many eggs on a patch reef during a morning dive on the 14th of
August. Although the reef is dominated by acroporids, it isn't clear which
coral was spawning or the precise timing of the event. However, the date
does correspond to the expected lunar pattern of 7 days after full moon.

We would be interested in other reports of (i) late spawning events (i.e.
October - November) and, (ii) early morning spawns.

Best wishes,


Dr Peter J. Mumby
Research Fellow

Department of Geography
University of Sheffield
Winter Street
S10 2TN
E-mail: p.j.mumby at
Tel: + 44 (0)114 222 7970
Fax: + 44 (0)114 279 7912

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