Spawning divers

Maureen Kuenen mkuenen at
Thu Jun 21 00:06:58 EDT 2001

I believe that the potential damage that divers could do to the actual gametes
once they are in the water column is negligible compared to all other life
threatening stages these still have to go through. My concern would go more to
the brooders or to the parent colonies. The problem involved with promoting coral
spawning is that lot's of divers want to see it, even novice divers. You are
dealing with night dives and close up observation here and as everybody knows
that chances of damaging corals (and other life) are much bigger in these
situations. I've seen experienced divers taking pictures of spawning coral while
laying on other corals surrounding it. (Keep in mind that the parent colony will
spawn next time again if still in good condition) Dive operators that really care
about the reef should deal with these things.
I hope this answers some questions

Brylske at wrote:

>     A question arose recently from a diver that I was hesitant to answer
> until I gathered some expert opinion. It relates to the issue of diver impact
> on coral reefs. But unlike the usual concern, which involves direct damage to
> reef structure, this query involved another form of potential
> impact?€”disturbance during mass spawning events. A similar issue has already
> arisen with respect to the closure of the Tortugas South reserve if to scuba
> diving. The rationale, which I?€™m proud to say that the diving industry has
> largely supported, is the avoidance of disturbance to known fish spawning
> aggregations in this area. However, the question at hand does not involve
> fish, but coral spawning. The diver wondered whether there might be some
> detrimental impact when scuba divers are present during mass spawning events.
> The concern was raised because many dive operators are now promoting tours
> specifically to observe these events.
>     My gut, less-than-expert reaction was that, given the large area of such
> spawning events and the relatively small area where diving activities might
> take place, the presence of divers is likely to be negligible, if not totally
> inconsequential. Further, my understanding is that the lipid content of the
> gamete packets make them buoyant, so fertilization does not occur under
> water, but at the surface when the packets break up. This would seem to
> further negate the effect of divers in the water.
>     So, I?€™d love to hear experts in this arena chime in and wax poetic. Do
> you believe that such diving activity could have any significant detrimental
> consequences, and if so how? Might the mere presence of divers inhibit gamete
> release? Could the exhaust bubble actually facilitate the breaking up the
> packets? I can't promise that this thread will be as entertaining as the
> recent discussion of the role of overfishing, but it?€™s a legitimate concern
> of some of the more environmentally-aware members of the recreational diving
> community. Your insights would be much appreciated.
> Alex F. Brylske, Ph.D.
> Marine Conservation & Education Specialist
> Project AWARE Foundation
> Please respond to:
> 3324 SW 8th Court
> Cape Coral, Florida 33914
> 800-729-7234, ext. 675 (phone-US toll free)
> 941-945-1987 (phone)
> 941-945-1926 (fax)
> alexb at (Email)
> brylske at (Email)
> ~~~~~~~
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