11 April, 2022
Since the end of 2021 the Symbiomics Lab has an aquarium coral spawning system, in which the seasonal temperature and lunar cycles are simulated. This stimulates corals to release gamete bundles at a desired time. The coral spawning is synchronized in nature as well, and may represent the biggest animal mass reproduction event on our blue planet. The moments when bundles of eggs and sperm are released (see video below) is fascinating by itself. From fertilized eggs coral larvae develop, which settle on an appropriate substrate, and metamorphose into the initial coral polyp. Over time and multiple fission of the polyp a coral colony grows. Growth rates and reproductive modes depend on the coral species. Our researchers and students use the egg and sperm to conduct targeted crossings and study the genetic origin of key physiological processes related to coral bleaching and temperature resilience, for example. Some of our work and endeavors are also featured here.
(click image to watch coral spawning video by Alejandro Prieto)