CORAL SPAWNING CRUISE 2014
August 15-17, 2014
aboard the R/V MANTA
The sanctuary research team, along with scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Texas at Austin, traveled to the sanctuary to study and document the annual mass coral spawning of its reefs.
The event occurred as predicted, with some spawning taking place on the seventh night after the August full moon (Saturday, Aug. 16), and the majority taking place the following night. Witnesses to this year's event described the spawning event as less prolific than years past.
Researchers also collected spawn and coral fragments to study genetics, thermal tolerance, and fluorescence in corals. These acitivities were accomplished under a sanctuary research permit.
The Oregon State University research team with the coral fragments they collected from East Flower Garden Bank. Image: FGBNMS/Embesi
The collected fragments were stored in tubs on the top deck of R/V MANTA for observation.
Oregon State University researcher collecting samples in a test tube. Image: FGBNMS/Embesi
Extensive setup in preparation for the coral fragments to spawn on the top deck of R/V MANTA.
Researchers watched the coral fragments at spawning time using red lights so as not to 'disturb' the corals. This allowed for night time conditions, but provided enough light for the researchers to complete their tasks.
Researchers watching the coral fragments for spawning and preparing to collect spawn samples. Image: FGBNMS/Embesi
The coral fragments spawned on cue, in tubs on the top deck of R/V Manta, while the vessel was docked at Texas A&M Galveston at the end of the trip.
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A sampling carousel was used to measure temperature and salinity to 200 feet near one of the TABS (Texas Automated Buoy System) buoys near East Flower Garden Bank.
Two TAMUG volunteers get ready to deploy a CTD carousel
to collect temperature and salinity data near East Flower Garden Bank. Image: FGBNMS/Embesi
Water quality instruments were also downloaded and serviced. This instrument is used to measure temperature and salinity at the reef crest. One is deployed at each bank within the sanctuary. They require quarterly maintenance and downloading.
The instrument attached to this railway wheel is used to measure temperature and salinity at the reef crest.
Placozoa recruitment plates were installed at various locations around the reef as part of a TAMUG project.
NOAA diver John Embesi installs a placozoa recruitment plate. Image: FGBNMS/Nuttall
Installed placozoa recruitment plate. Image: FGBNMS/Nuttall
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General Coral Spawning Information
For general information about the annual mass coral spawning event in the sanctuary, please visit our Coral Spawning at FGBNMS page.
For summaries and reports from other spawning seasons, please use the links below:
2013 Coral Spawning
2011 Coral Spawning
2010 Coral Spawning
2009 Coral Spawning
2008 Coral Spawning
2007 Coral Spawning
2006 Coral Spawning
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