South east of the island: The annual dance of coral reproduction

  • Credit: Bruneau Laurette
Published on 2023-11-16 at 05:35
Every year around this time, a subtle enchantment unfolds beneath the waves of Blue Bay, Pointe d'Esny, and Mahébourg, the sea takes on a rosy hue.

In recent days, the southeastern waters of the island have displayed surprising shades of red and pink. If you've visited Blue-Bay or Pointe d'Esny lately, you've likely noticed this color shift. No need to be alarmed—it's not pollution but a natural phenomenon that occurs once or twice a year.

This fleeting underwater spectacle is a result of a unique event: coral reproduction. It's a choreographed aquatic dance orchestrated by nature, where corals play a vital role in preserving their species. This seemingly subtle change in color reflects the delicate harmony between corals and their environment.

Coral reproduction unfolds over a brief period, influenced by factors like the season, water temperature, and the presence of the moon. Rarely observed, it's due to its limited timeframe and dependence on precise environmental conditions.

Typically seasonal, this event closely ties to weather conditions, reaching its peak during sunny seasons accompanied by moonlit nights. Environmental stability is crucial, with corals favoring consistent conditions, free from sudden disturbances like salinity fluctuations. When these elements align, a natural technicolor ballet begins, painting the sea in vibrant shades of red and pink.

This underwater symphony, influenced by a subtle mix of solar and lunar light, prompts corals to release their gametes into the water. These gametes, comprising sperm and egg cells with organic pigments, are responsible for the spectacular coloration of the marine environment.

Coral reproduction continues to captivate observers until the end of November. Those keen to witness this unique experience are encouraged to visit Blue-Bay public beach, the Mahébourg waterfront, or along the Pointe-d'Esny coast. It's an opportunity to discover nature in all its splendor and a poignant reminder of the importance of safeguarding these marine treasures for future generations.