Blog icon

29 March 2016 News Release

Coral spawning will happen along Ningaloo Reef, and other reefs in WA, five to ten days after the recent full moon (March 23).

Marine scientists from CSIRO and the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife are studying coral spawning and the subsequent dispersal and settlement of coral larvae to help understand the current and future state of the reef.

"Coral spawning is a critical process for reef recolonisation. We are also interested in how many new corals survive to adulthood and help rejuvenate disturbed areas," Dr Christopher Doropoulos from CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere said.

"Understanding the early survival of coral recruits involves a series of manipulative laboratory and field experiments."

The scientists have been collecting information about coral recruitment in the Ningaloo region since 2010.

During this time major coral bleaching events and cyclones have passed through the area. Using the information gathered, the team can predict which areas of the reef are likely to recover positively following past and future disturbances.

The team is also assessing which environmental conditions improve or limit the survival of the tiny young corals.

Western Australian Parks and Wildlife scientists George Shedrawi and Peter Barnes have been monitoring the abundance of new young corals through artificial terracotta tiles installed throughout the Ningaloo Marine Park.

"New corals that recruit to the reef are the first step to recovery," Research scientist Mr Shedrawi of the Science and Conservation Division said.

"We have been working to understand which reefs in WA’s marine parks are most resilient to changing environmental stresses."

Ningaloo Marine Park Coordinator Dr Peter Barnes said the knowledge gained from these studies contributes to the current and future planning of marine parks and reserves in the region.

"Such studies inform adaptive management aimed at maintaining the ecological values of Ningaloo Reef," Dr Barnes said.

"Ultimately, the work helps with the goal of long-term conservation of Ningaloo Marine Park for current and future generations."


Lab work: collecting gametes from Acropora Millepora, a species of stony coral ©  CSIRO, Chris Doropoulos
Deployed terracotta tiles at disturbed reefs ©  WA Department of Parks and Wildlife
Scientists deploying artificial terracotta tiles along disturbed reefs ©  WA Department of Parks and Wildlife
Coral spawning is a critical process for reef recolonisation. ©  tungkyhandoko

Background information

Department of Parks and Wildlife contacts

Contact us

Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

CSIRO will handle your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and our Privacy Policy.

First name must be filled in

Surname must be filled in

I am representing *

Please choose an option

Please provide a subject for the enquriy

0 / 100

We'll need to know what you want to contact us about so we can give you an answer

0 / 1900

You shouldn't be able to see this field. Please try again and leave the field blank.