‘Coral IVF’ to restore Australia’s massive barrier reef

  • A coral population created using ‘coral IVF’ has just kept their first infestation events alive – and they expect to spawn next year.
  • Coral IVF is a larval regeneration technique, involving the collection of sperm and eggs released during a large spawning season.
  • More than 60 corals off Heron Island are now on track to become the first regenerated population in the Great Barrier Reef.

Not only have coral populations from Australia’s first Coral IVF test on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 survived surviving recent blows, but they are on track to reproduce and spawn. next year, researchers say.

“I’m excited,” said Peter Harrison, director of Southern Cross University’s Marine Ecology Research Center, who led the development of a larval regeneration strategy that involves collecting coral sperm and eggs on time. large annual spawning grounds on the reef.

After cultivating larvae in specially designed gardens for about a week, scientists spread them to parts of the reef that have been damaged by infestation and need live coral.

The Harrison team, working with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, used the device just off Heron Island in 2016, where more than 60 corals are now on track to become the first regenerated population. on the reef through Coral IVF.

“This proves that the larval regeneration method works exactly as we predicted and we can grow large corals from tiny microscopic larvae within a few years,” Harrison said after to visit the redevelopment site in early December.

The corals varied in diameter, from just a few centimeters to the size of a dinner plate, and were healthy, despite a blowing event that hit Heron Island in March.

March swells were still the widest reef, scientists said, and the third in five years.

Glazing occurs when warmer water destroys the algae that corals eat, causing them to turn white.

A recent study from James Cook University found that the reef had lost more than half of its coral in the past three decades and raised concerns that it is less likely to recover from major swell events.

The Great Barrier Reef runs 2,300 km (1,429 miles) down the northeast coast of Australia spanning half the size of Texas. It was listed on world heritage in 1981 by UNESCO as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.