The coral reefs in Kenting are spawning a month earlier than usual. During underwater observations last week, Tsai Yung-chun, president of the Taiwan Underwater Photography Association, discovered that coral reefs near pipes from which the Third Nuclear Power Plant releases hot wastewater were already spawning. The resplendent scene of spawning corals was no less remarkable than Kenting’s lively Spring Scream music festival that was underway on shore.
In the depths of undersea darkness, various species of corals, including Favites chinensis, Galaxea fascicularis, Leptoria phrygia and Favia laxa, all began spawning in splendid, vibrant colors on Friday last week. The vast number of round eggs floating around was as gorgeous as the starlit sky.
Corals in Kenting typically spawn at the end of April and the beginning of May, only occasionally spawning earlier or later. On April 4, Tsai and a group of people went underwater to make observations, photographing the spawning coral reefs. Based on observations made over the past four years, he says that there is usually an explosive coral spawning during the third and four months of the lunar calendar, but that this year’s coral spawning occurring as early as the second lunar month was quite a rarity.
Fan Tung-yung, a biologist at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, says that the effect of hot wastewater being discharged from the Third Nuclear Power Plant has caused the water in the area to be warmer by around one degree, which could be causing the corals to spawn early. As to whether it is a full-scale phenomenon still requires more observation, Fan says.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)