Learning to Grow Corals in the Laboratory

Dec 20, 2017

Researchers at The Florida Aquarium are joining forces with the London-based Horniman Museum and Gardens to save coral reefs by spawning corals in laboratories. This technique to aid coral restoration efforts has thus far only been accomplished at the Horniman.

We’re joined by The Florida Aquarium’s Coral Nursery Manager, Keri O’Neil, who’s just back from a visit to Horniman where she learned about their techniques of growing corals in a lab setting, and brainstormed ideas of how to transport future coral fragments to Florida for restoration purposes.

Corals in the wild reproduce by releasing their eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. This wild spawning only happens once every year, which has meant opportunities for research have been limited.

The Horniman Aquarium started Project Coral and in 2013 became the first organization globally to predictably induce coral spawning in a fully closed aquarium lab setting.  Now The Florida Aquarium is providing even more expertise to enhance this project with plans to plant the lab-grown coral fragments to coral reefs along the Florida Reef Tract. Check out the video below to see corals spawning at the Horniman Aquarium.