Editor's note

Once a year, when the sun has set and the moonlight is just right, corals come together to produce one of nature’s most spectacular events. In near perfect synchrony, they release rising snowstorms of sperm and eggs in their billions, creating vividly coloured streaks in the sea visible from miles above.

Corals depend on this clockwork timing to survive. According to new research, some species are losing it. Instead of spawning in unison, coral colonies are now staggering the release of their reproductive cells over as many as a couple of months, leaving little chance for sperm and egg to find each other in the vast ocean.

The good news is that measuring how coral reefs are reproducing can identify endangered corals long before they die. The bad news is that we don’t yet know what’s throwing their spawning out of sync. If we can find out, there may be a glimmer of hope for these beautiful ecosystems, explains Heidi Burdett.

Elsewhere, we’ve been learning how immigration can make some people feel worse off – even if they aren’t.

Jordan Raine

Commissioning Editor

Top stories

Corals release millions of sperm and eggs in synchrony to reproduce. Rich Carey/Shutterstock

Coral reefs: breakdown in iconic spawning puts species at risk of extinction – new research

Heidi Burdett, Heriot-Watt University

The largest reproductive event on the planet is under threat.

Demonstrations against the arrival of immigrants on England’s south coast. Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

How immigration can make some UK-born residents feel worse off even if they aren’t – new research

Peter Howley, University of Leeds

It's not all about the economics – people's sense of well-being may help explain anti-immigration attitudes.


Why accidents and emergencies seem to dramatically slow down time

Steve Taylor, Leeds Beckett University

When seconds stretch into minutes.

Science + Technology

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    Bettina Beinhoff, Anglia Ruskin University

    From Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, writers and linguists have invented an array of new languages.



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