[Coral-List] Mass spawning of Xestospongia muta on Conch Reef, Florida

Pawlik, Joseph pawlikj at uncw.edu
Wed May 14 07:43:57 EDT 2008

Greetings, coral-listers,
We observed a mass spawning of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, on Conch Reef off Key Largo, Florida on the morning of 13 May 2008.  Approx. 30% of the reef bottom, 40-70' depth, was covered in a "wet snow" of sponge eggs, often pooled near releasing sponges.  Depending on site along the reef, 20-40% of sponges had released flocculent egg masses.  Only one sponge was observed weakly "smoking" -- releasing sperm -- at the beginning if the first morning dive, suggesting that the peak of spawning occurred late at night or early in the morning.  Seas were calm, skys clear, moon was waxing gibbous, and seawater temperatures were 77-78F overnight.
Our question for the list:  did anyone else observe mass spawning of X. muta at the same time?
Joseph R. Pawlik, Professor
UNCW Center for Marine Science
5600 Marvin K Moss Ln
Wilmington, NC  28409  USA
pawlikj at uncw.edu; (910)962-2377; Cell: 910-232-3579
Website: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/index.html
PDFs: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/pubs2.html

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