KEY POINTS

  • Scientists shared a video of the event
  • The clip shows corals releasing millions of tiny balls
  • Coral spawning events increase the corals' chance of reproduction

The Great Barrier Reef has burst to life in its annual coral spawning, and scientists witnessed the stunning event.

There is new hope for the Great Barrier Reef this week as the World Heritage Site went off in a simultaneous effort to bring forth new life, reported EcoWatch.

"Nothing makes people happier than new life, and coral spawning is the world's biggest proof of that," Gareth Phillips, a principal marine scientist at Reef Teach and one of the scientists who witnessed this week's event, told the outlet in a statement. "I've seen the corals all go off at once, but this time there seemed to be different species spawning in waves, one after the other. The conditions were magical with the water like glass and beautiful light coming from the moon."

In a video shared by Reef Teach on Instagram, one can see the millions of tiny balls released by the corals.

"Unbelievably beautiful spawning from last night!" Reef Teach wrote in the post. "The party sure has started and the corals are going off."

As the Great Barrier Reef Foundation explained, coral spawning is the yearly event in which the corals reproduce simultaneously. Although they reproduce asexually most times of the year, during coral spawning events, the coral polyps release balls containing eggs and sperms, with the "bundles" from the same species having to find each other to get fertilized.

Such spawning events only happen at night and can last from several days to a week. They also take place after a full moon and when the water temperature is right to "stimulate the maturation of the egg and sperm bundles."

These en masse events increase the chance of successful reproduction, the foundation noted, adding that many of the spawn also end up getting washed out to the sea or eaten by other marine creatures.

This year's event brings much-needed good news for the Great Barrier Reef, which has experienced several serious mass bleaching events due to rising ocean temperatures. For instance, a recent study found that coral bleaching since 1998 has affected 98% of the Great Barrier Reef.

"It made me so excited about the future – there is just so much potential for this reef," Nicole Rowberry, a marine science student, told EcoWatch.

"The reef has gone through its own troubles like we all have, but it can still respond, and that gives us hope," Phillips was quoted as saying by the outlet. "I think we must all focus on the victories as we emerge from the pandemic."

Corals are seen at the Great Barrier Reef in this January 2002 handout photo. Corals are seen at the Great Barrier Reef in this January 2002 handout photo. Photo: Reuters