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Researchers Working to Save Threatened Corals: In the Ocean, and in the Lab

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium scientists documented outplanted mountainous star coral spawning for the second night in a row.
Joe Berg
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium scientists documented outplanted mountainous star coral spawning for the second night in a row.

Coral reefs continue to face serious threats all over the world, and are dying at alarming rates because of things like coral bleaching, various diseases, and environmental stressors like warming water temperatures and increased acidification. In response, there are many efforts around the world to find ways to restore corals, and we’re going to learn about two ongoing research programs doing just that.

First, for the first time ever in Florida or Caribbean waters, researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium have observed restored colonies of mountainous star coral spawning in the wild. These endangered corals were propagated by scientists about five years ago in the Florida Keys. We’re joined by Dr. Hanna Cook, she is a Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium who is working with the Coral Reef Restoration Program at Mote's Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration in the Florida Keys.

Second night in a row, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium scientists documented outplanted mountainous star coral spawning - credit Sarah Hamlyn Mote Marine Laboratory1.mp4

Then we get an update on the Florida Aquarium’s work to induce corals to spawn in the lab using a system that matches the environmental conditions in the wild. Researchers there just witnessed pillar corals spawning indoors for the second year in a row. We're joined by Keri O’Neil, she is Senior Coral Scientist at the Florida Aquarium and manager of the its Coral Conservation Program. To hear our conversation about the last year's initial spawning click here.

TFA_Pillar Coral Spawning.mp4

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