Sunday, August 3, 2008
This is a picture of a cloud of sperm. You can see the green anemone which produced these clouds wedged in between the upper rocks. Anemones are broad-cast spawners, which means that they release their eggs and sperm in the water column and hope that they get fertilized. They do try to coordinate their spawning efforts by using external cues, such as temperature. When the water gets warm enough, they release their gametes (eggs or sperm). However, for those living in the shallow tidepools, this can get a little tricky, as the temperature of the tidepool's water is often warmer than the ocean water. So, during the reproductive season, you can sometimes find anemones that were fooled into releasing their gametes early.