Soon after the full moon in August, Florida’s coral reefs are a scene of annual sexual reproduction, called coral spawning, where coral communities release large numbers of white, pink and orange spheres into the ocean.
This year, the corals that scientists have cultivated in the laboratory and transplanted into natural coral reefs for the first time are ready to be added to spawning. This is a promising milestone in continuous efforts to restore the destroyed coral reef system in South Florida. .
Hanna Koch, a coral reproduction scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory, said: “This is really amazing because we don’t know what we would expect when we planted these corals five years ago.” The technology is using a technique called micro-fragment fusion. Coral is cultivated on land and on land. Plant them on local coral reefs.
She said the technology is helping slow-growing corals (such as alpine stars) grow at 50 times the normal rate. This year, scientists examined mountain stars, a threatened species that grows in nurseries and was planted on coral reefs in Florida Keys and the Caribbean in 201
With climate change, more frequent bleaching events, coastal development, pollution and overfishing, Australian scientists are racing to restore coral reefs at an alarming rate.
In Florida, rising temperatures cause nutrient-rich water to produce more algae, which can suffocate corals to death. The sparse affects the colony, and the increase in the traffic of ships and ships around the Florida Reef area has also caused heavy losses to the coral reef. Recently, a mysterious disease that broke out near Virginia Reef about five years ago began to spread rapidly along the coast.
Koch said that gametes or the reproductive cells of an organism were discovered five years ago on alpine star corals, which means that the use of micro-fragmentation and fusion technology can quickly replenish depleted coral reefs.
Researchers used this technique to break down large corals into tiny micro-fragments, resulting in clones that grow in laboratory nurseries. When they reach a certain size a few months later, they are planted in clusters on coral reefs in circular patterns. A few years later, they began to combine to create the well-known mound-like shape. Scientists found that due to the micro-fragment fusion technology, they grow faster. This method is also called “skinning” by Mote.
Irene Mueller, scientific director of the Mott Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration, said: “We can grow large boulder corals into a plate size in two to three years.” She added: “And Because we now know that this size is feasible for reproduction, we know that this method will be effective for coral recovery.”
Coral reefs account for less than one percent of the ocean floor and are estimated to account for 25% of all known marine species, making it one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Scientists estimate that more than one million species of plants and animals spend some time in coral reefs.
Another notable feature of the corals observed in the Mote study is that they experienced a brutal global bleaching event in 2015, survived Hurricane Irma in 2017, and were not called by the 2019 outbreak. The impact of the disease of stony coral tissue loss disease, which has affected millions of coral reefs in Florida.
Koch said this may seem like a small miracle, but it is actually science. Through a variety of growth interventions, laboratory-grown corals have become more resilient, providing them with a fighter against climate change.
In the next few days, the researchers will dive every night near Cook Island near Big Pine Bay to check on parents who will become parents. Spawning occurs only once a year, and the time is usually related to the full moon in August. Koch said these corals will release eggs and sperm into the water column in the next few days.
“Ultimately, this is what we need them to do. Once they leave the ocean, they can reproduce on their own.” This is the only way for restoration work,” she said.