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Anse Chastanet - St Lucia

Reef Spawning Dazzles Divers
at St Lucia's Anse Chastanet Resort


Soufriere, St. Lucia, August 20...Mother nature was right on time delivering a spectacular display of spawning by corals and other reef organisms to the delight of onlookers on the Anse Chastanet reef; the events occurred on the precise nights predicted by marine biologists allowing onlookers to be in the water with cameras ready. Activity began around 9:30 p.m. on August 12, six days after the full moon.

Often described as an upside down snow storm, reef organisms spawn by releasing millions of packets of egg and sperm cells which appear underwater as massive pink and white clouds that slowly drift to the surface where fertilization occurs.

On August 12, the process began with Symmetrical Brain Coral (Diplora strigosa) spawning. A short time later, witnesses were also treated to the release of the reproductive cells by Black Ribbon worms and West Indian Star snails.

The next evening, August 13, the show continued when around 7:30 Boulder Brain Coral (Colpopyhylia natans) began spawning. A half-hour later a large number of Brittle Stars amassed on the reef to initiate their annual reproductive activities. By 10:00 p.m. Boulder Star Coral (Montastraea annularis) joined in along with some Pencil Urchins.

It is known that somehow each species on a reef synchronizes the timing of its spawning, which takes place only once each year. Water temperature, the lunar cycle, the length of daylight hours and the tides are the controlling factors. The ideal time for the release of the reproductive cells seems to be a week or so after a full moon when tides and currents are diminishing providing more hospitable conditions for the fertilization process. Activities begin an hour or two after sunset providing the cover of darkness to increase the chances of survival.

Reef organism reproduction takes on added significance at this time as the world's coral reefs are being decimated by the effects of global warming, careless coastal development and other environmental factors. The Anse Chastanet Resort is located within St. Lucia's marine park which for more than 13 years has made a concerted effort to protect this Caribbean island's vital reef resources.

Downloadable photos are available on the Anse Chastanet image bank http://www.ansechastanet.com/pressimages.html and there is also have a photo album on http://www.facebook.com/pages/SCUBA-ST-LUCIA/90374894069

For press contact: Morano Public Relations, 212-860-5566, moranopr@aol.com


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