I'm now a parent... to hundreds of little coral babies! The coastal resilience team has spent the last few days at Calabash Caye waiting for the Acropora to spawn. Wednesday night it finally happened, which means we were up all night mixing the gametes to make the egg and sperm packets burst and become fertilized, then filtering out the corals-to-be into tanks for further care. In 3 hours shifts staff, interns, volunteers and even our boat captain meticulously spray the tanks every 15 minutes to keep the babies from sticking to the sides, monitor water temperature and clean fatty metabolites from the surface. Once mature, the corals will be transplanted back to the reef. Who knew raising babies was such hard work!
Above: Preparing for our night dive and snorkel to catch the Acropora spawning
L: Nets used for capturing the gametes; R: Stirring the gamete packets so they burst and the eggs can be fertilized
Above: Monitoring fertilization and removing the excess sperm
L: Tanks for rearing the baby corals; M: Cleaning fatty metabolites from the surface of the tanks; R: Monitoring water temperature