Sex in the Sea
Just like any other animal, to make babies, coral eggs must be fertilized by coral sperm. But even though corals are animals, they are attached to the seafloor. Without the ability to move, how can they find a mate in the vast ocean?
Many marine animals, such as corals, have found a very simple way to have sex. All individuals of a given species spawn their eggs and sperm into the open water, exactly at the same time over only a few minutes, once a year. Then the ocean currents bring them together and fertilization takes place. But the eggs and sperm only have a few hours to find each other in the water; with every hour that passes, they will lose viability and start to disintegrate so the timing and synchrony of this event is everything. The release of the reproductive material has to be perfectly orchestrated at a certain hour of the night, on a certain night of the month, in a certain month of the year.
My research on a fascinating phenomenon, coral spawning, has taken me underwater in the last five years every night for three months in the summer when corals in the Red Sea reproduce. On some nights I spent up to six hours in the dark-black water, silently waiting; observing and documenting those unique moments that may happen for only five years, once a year, and at an unknown time.
All photos in this portfolio were taken in the thriving and unique coral reefs of the Gulf of Eilat and Aqaba, Red Sea.