"Playing Matchmaker for Corals"

"Improving the success of sexual reproduction is another tool for restoring the world’s coral reefs."

"Along Florida’s coast, multiple coral restoration projects have hundreds of people painstakingly attaching thousands of coral fragments to acres of endangered reefs. These efforts are yielding impressive results, but they won’t be enough — especially now, in the face of unprecedented high sea temperatures, as some projects scramble to rescue corals from in-water nurseries.

Other projects have successfully coaxed corals to reproduce sexually in laboratory settings. But that approach, while important, remains costly and limited in scope.

Another option is boosting natural sexual reproduction of corals. Many corals reproduce sexually through broadcast spawning — a coordinated release of eggs and sperm into the water, with fertilization occurring at the surface. Fish and other marine creatures eat many of the gametes, and others drift off into the open sea without ever bumping into their other half. That doesn’t help their rate of survival, so scientists are developing a workaround. Sexual or larval propagation, also called coral seeding, involves collecting spawn in the wild, fusing the eggs and sperm in a container, growing larvae in protected settings, and dispersing them back onto the reef."

Melissa Gaskill reports for The Revelator August 9, 2023.


Source: The Revelator, 08/14/2023