Birds do it, bees do it, even corals do it

• Maui Ocean Center photo

Rice coral is shown spawning at Maui Ocean Center’s “Incredible Corals: Night at the Reef” event on Monday. Every summer, rice coral (montipora capitata) colonies around Maui and in the aquarium’s exhibits spawn shortly after the new moon cycle. Guided by the aquarium’s marine naturalist and curatorial team, guests witnessed a synchronized release of coral gametes (egg and sperm) beginning at 8:45 p.m. The flurry lasted for about 20 minutes. This is the third consecutive year that rice corals spawned during Maui Ocean Center’s summer coral event, an evening that brought together marine scientists, nonprofit ocean organizations, residents and visitors. There were coral exhibits, talks about coral reproduction and music by Anthony Pfluke. A portion of event proceeds was donated to Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release threatened and endangered Hawaiian sea turtles, maintain a repository for rare and endemic Hawaiian corals and provide educational opportunities in marine sciences and conservation.