Climate crisis may be disrupting the 'great orgy' of coral spawning

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Study finds breakdown in annual spawning synchrony in Red Sea, threatening some species with extinction

It has been described by scientists as “the greatest orgy in the world”; an annual gamete-fest, where entire colonies of coral reefs release their sperm and eggs simultaneously in a slick on the ocean surface that has been seen from space. But now scientists fear the climate crisis may be disrupting the ability of corals to synchronise this marine phenomenon, threatening them with extinction.

A Tel Aviv university study, published in Science, has found the release of eggs and sperm in certain reef-building corals in the Gulf of Eilat in the Red Sea have changed over time and have lost their synchronicity. For a coral, reliant on a chance encounter, timing is everything. But researchers have found some are spawning “out of tune” with normal patterns, with the result that fewer baby corals are forming.

Related: ‘They eat everything in their path’: Spain’s shellfish farmers turn on starfish | Stephen Burgen

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Link : Climate crisis may be disrupting the ‘great orgy’ of coral spawning

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