The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) reports excellent news for nature lovers who enjoy scuba and snorkeling in the warm Caribbean waters of Bocas del Toro. According to STRI scientist emeritus, Nancy Knowlton, the recent coral spawning she witnessed was the best she had ever seen. “It was spectacular,” she said.
For almost two decades, Dr. Knowlton, who holds the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, has been visiting Panama to witness corals reproduce.
She reports that the recent “intense spawning,” an annual reproductive event, brightens the corals´ future with hope.
Coral reefs have exi
sted for tens of millions of years. Their global seafloor coverage is equal to the area of Texas and yet hosts 25% of marine life. One third of coral species are at risk of extinction and hard-hit Caribbean corals have declined by 80% over three decades.
“It´s good news that the corals are still reproducing,” said Dr. Knowlton excitedly. She has since 1974 labored with STRI on the subject of coral. “A lot of eggs were fertilized for sure,” she reported.
Source: The Visitor