Mysterious world of coral reproduction subject of Maui Ocean Center event

Night at the Reef: Incredible Corals will be presented at Maui Ocean Center from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday. Guests will be able to visit aquarium exhibits after dark under the light of a new moon with the opportunity to observe live coral spawning.

Guests will interact with Maui Ocean Center’s divers, aquarists, ocean naturalists and renowned experts in the field along with volunteers from local eco-organizations. Complimentary coffee, juice and tropical iced tea will be available. Heavy pupu (appetizers), snacks, dessert and a no-host bar will be available.

Rice coral reproduction is linked to the lunar cycle, and spawning generally occurs a few days after the new moon in the summer months. While live coral spawning is expected to occur on Monday it is not guaranteed. All aquarium exhibits will be open for viewing during Night at the Reef: Incredible Corals.

In addition, Michael Cavazos, coral mitigation and nursery specialist for the Division of Aquatic Resources of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, will present information on coral and the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center on Oahu. As a researcher, Cavazos is interested in microbial interactions in corals and reef-restoration techniques. Cavazos will be joined by Kari Kolton-Zajackowski, also of the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center, who will be available throughout the evening with information on fragmenting coral and to answer questions.

A special underwater robotic camera from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be in the Discovery Pool during the event, sending back live imaging of coral spawning. Footage from previous spawning events will also be shown throughout the evening.

Admission including tax is $28 for adults and $23 for children ages 3-12, with discounts for members and residents with valid ID. Advance reservations are recommended; call 270-7088.

Maui Ocean Center will donate a portion of the proceeds from Night at the Reef: Incredible Corals to Project S.E.A.-Link, a local nonprofit that promotes marine science, education and awareness by providing a link between students, teachers, scientists, the community, other nonprofits and governmental agencies.