News / Company News / QM Intern at CRF Update (09/02/16)

QM Intern at CRF Update

QM Intern at CRF Update
Alex Neufeld - QM Intern at CRF

This will be my final update from CRF, as the internship session ends today and the next crop of interns begins in a week.

The largest event of this last month was undoubtedly the annual coral spawn, which took place each night between August 20th and 24th. Staghorn and elkhorn corals spawn only once per year, always simultaneously around the full moon in late August or early September. Each polyp releases bundles- small packages of eggs and sperm- that break and mix at the waters surface. The fertilized eggs develop into new coral polyps that will settle back on the bottom in just a few days.

This year, we had partners from Florida Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium, University of Hawaii, and the Smithsonian Institute collecting egg bundles from spawning corals in our nursery. Some of the bundles were mixed together in our warehouse laboratory to encourage new coral polyps to settle and other bundles were cryo-preserved so that they can be thawed and used in experiments at some point in the future. Overall the spawn itself was a huge success. Many of our genetic strains spawned at some point during the week, with the night of the 22nd producing the most egg bundles.

Several current and potential donors joined us on the boats as well, and I was tasked with photographing their first coral spawning experience. Night photography is a challenge in many different ways, but I enjoyed the experience immensely and was able to send the donors home with several nice shots. Ive included a couple of my favorites.

Id like to say a final farewell and thank you to everyone at QM for helping support this intern program. It truly is a fantastic internship experience. This summer at CRF has been an incredible time for me and I hope youve enjoyed learning about my time here through these updates.