CNN:  The Great Barrier Reef has “given birth” in its annual coral spawn, creating a cacophony of color on the Australian landmark. Scientists working beneath the waves say they witnessed the event, in which coral simultaneously release sperm and eggs en masse, overnight Tuesday off the coast of Cairns, Queensland, hailing it as a positive sign the reef was able to regenerate despite ecological threats.
”Nothing makes people happier than new life — and coral spawning is the world’s biggest proof of that,” Australian marine biologist Gareth Phillips, who had a front row seat to this year’s coral spawn, said in statement via Queensland Tourism and Events.Philips, from research center Reef Teach, and his team of marine biologists, divers, students and photographers dived to the bottom of the ocean to capture footage of coral off the coast of Cairns, Queensland.
Over the next couple days, they’ll be traveling to other reef sites to film and observe.
This footage will allow scientists to monitor this year’s coral crop — and keep tabs on the general health of the Great Barrier Reef, which is protected by UNESCO and this year avoided an “in danger” rating from the World Heritage Committee.