Ocean Art 2022 - 3rd Place Marine Life Behavior

3rd Place Marine Life Behavior

Tom Shlesinger

"Coral Spawning"


Tom Shlesinger won a Marelux SOFT with a dock!


The Story: A branching coral spawns pinkish bundles of eggs and sperm. Corals are animals, and this is how they reproduce and create new generations of baby corals. Usually, at the exact same time, thousands of corals of a given species along hundreds of kilometers of the reef reproduce by spawning egg-and-sperm bundles altogether into the open sea. These bundles will be carried away by the currents, mixing in the water, until they finally encounter a match—a sperm will fertilize an egg and new life will be created. Yet catching coral spawning is tricky business as it usually happens only once a year in a certain month of the year, on a specific night of the month, and at a certain hour of the night for a very short time window of only a few minutes. 

This image is part of an ongoing scientific-documentary project documenting the nightlife and unique reproductive phenomena of corals and other inhabitants of the coral reef in the Red Sea. I spent ~300 nights underwater in the last few years during the major reproduction season of corals and other reef-associated animals snorkeling and freediving for hours every night to document the nocturnal behavior and build a calendar of the reproduction of corals and other coral-reef dwellers.

Location: Coral Beach Nature Reserve, Eilat, Gulf of Aqaba and Eilat,  Israel

Equipment Used: Sony A7R III, Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G Lens, Nauticam Housing, Dual Retra Flash Pro Strobes

Camera Settings: ISO 200, F16, 1/160 sec


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