coral reefs

Coral reefs around the world have taken big hits over the past decade as ocean temperatures rise. During a recent 3-year global event, roughly half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef succumbed to what’s called coral bleaching. And here in Florida, corals are facing a rapidly spreading disease called White Plague which has decimated many coral species off the Southeast Florida coast. Today we’ll talk with Dr. William Precht, who has studied the disease to learn more.

Emma Hickerson / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Every year in the late summer, the dive and tourism industries in the Florida Keys encourage people to come to the island chain and watch the reproductive act first-hand — on the reef.

Ryan McMinds via Flickr Creative Commons

Warming temperatures and ocean acidification are significant threats to coral reefs, but a new study by Mote Marine Laboratory researchers last month provides something of a silver lining.   Researchers found that ocean acidification could actually help slow the progression of a disease that kills corals.

Jerry Reid, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service via WikiMedia Commons

Scientists with Mote Marine Laboratory will begin a yearlong effort this summer to restore about 25,000 corals in the Florida Keys.  State lawmakers approved a $500,000 appropriation for the project in this year’s state legislative session.

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