It’s that time of year again, so it’s worth packing your dive gear and heading down to the Florida Keys for the annual Coral spawning season.

Typically the coral spawn takes place several days after the late summer full moon. The coral spawn can take up to three nights, with the corals on the reef synchronizing the release of sperm and eggs into the water.

The spawning can be observed by snorkellers and divers alike, and several dive operators in the Florida Keys run special trips to observe the spawning when it is happening.

Interestingly not all the different species of coral spawn at the same time. And each species will spawn individually at a time night when the conditions are optimal. Once the corals have spawned, the eggs and sperm will float around in the sea for up to two months before settling on the sea floor to start forming a new coral polyp.

The event is studied by scientist every year to gain a better understanding of coral reefs, and how there reproductive cycles.

You can find out more about dive operators in Florida here, or check out a video about some of the scientific work done during the spawn below.