[Coral-List] First-ever live streaming video of a coral spawning event!

Erin Sams erinesams at gmail.com
Mon Aug 26 12:16:53 EDT 2013

Hello Coral-List,

Keeping with the coral spawning trend, I'd like to share information about an opportunity to watch live-streaming video of this year's coral spawning event off the East End of Grand Cayman Island.

A little background: Starting in 2003, Dr. Alexander Mustard and Stephen Broadbelt, co-founder of Ocean Frontiers Dive Center, began collecting data (and reporting it to Coral-List) on the spawning behaviors of several common corals in the Caymans, including Orbicella annularis (formerly Montastrea annularis), Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, Orbicella faveolata (formerly Montastrea faveolata), Pseudodiploria strigosa (formerly Diploria strigosa), and multiple species of sea rods. A paper was published with the first year of data, and the two have continued to collect data each year since.

Their data has helped in the prediction of future spawning dates, and this year’s predicted spawning event will be viewable via live streaming video from a permanent Wild Goose Imaging Clean Sweep™ underwater self-cleaning camera system and a newly installed and calibrated LED lighting system directed at a large Orbicella (Montastrea) annularis colony off the East End of Grand Cayman Island. Two of the lights were installed to make viewing of the coral spawning possible, as well as to provide a once a week nightly viewing year round. Two additional lights were installed to conduct coral fluorescence health monitoring research at 405nm and 450nm excitation. This research will focus on comparing fluorescence of the coral in relation to water temperature, pH, and salinity, and other factors such as major weather events.

Due to the later-than-usual timing of the 9th full (Harvest) moon in 2013’s lunar cycle, the coral spawning event is predicted to occur either after the most recent full moon on August 21st (spawning possibly beginning TONIGHT, Aug. 26th-28th) or September 19th (spawning Sept. 24th-26th). Each full moon is outside the range of spawning occurrences that have happened in the past decade during Mustard & Broadbelt’s research. Due to this uncertainty, the lighting system has been installed in time to capture the August spawning event if the corals spawn early.

Live streaming HD video feeds of the Grand Cayman reef site as well as others maintained by Teens4Oceans are accessible at Teens4Oceans’ website: http://teens4oceans.org/index.php/gallery/webcams/

Updates will be available on Wild Goose Imaging’s blog: http://www.wildgooseimaging.com/blog/wordpress/

This work is possible through a Gates Frontier Foundation grant (http://www.gatesfamilyfoundation.org/) and the collaborative efforts of Ocean Frontiers Dive Center (http://www.oceanfrontiers.com/), Wild Goose Imaging (http://www.wildgooseimaging.com/), Ocean Classrooms, an online interactive marine science curriculum (http://www.oceanclassrooms.com/), and the student-led nonprofit Teens4Oceans (http://teens4oceans.org/), whose students are responsible for installing the camera system.  

If you have any questions about this project, please contact myself, Erin Sams, Teens4Oceans Program Manager, at esams at teens4oceans.org or Trevor Mendelow, Director of Research at Wild Goose Imaging, at t.mendelow at wildgooseimaging.com.


Erin Sams

Erin Sams, M. En.
erinesams at gmail.com

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