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Aquarium Breakthrough Could Save FLs Endangered Coral

first_img Robot Successfully Delivers Coral Babies to Great Barrier ReefPatient-specific knee parts can now be 3D printed Stay on target For the first time, researchers at The Florida Aquarium have successfully reproduced a group of endangered Atlantic coral in a lab setting.The breakthrough, which enables sexual reproduction to occur entirely outside of the ocean, could ultimately help save local marine invertebrates from extinction.“When history is made, there is hope, and [this] scientific breakthrough … gives us real hope that we can save the Florida Reef Tract from extinction,” Roger Germann, president and CEO of The Florida Aquarium, said in a statement.The only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, the Florida Reef is the third largest coral barrier reef system in the world—after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef.And while a quarter of all ocean life thrives on these fragile habitats, they are quickly being destroyed by pollution, overfishing, and climate change.The Florida Aquarium, in partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens, wants to change that.The pair joined forces in late 2017 to save coral reefs by predictably inducing corals to spawn in the lab—a restoration technique previously accomplished only with Pacific coral species.Turning their attention to Atlantic colonies, scientists spent months mimicking the natural environment of corals using advanced technology to reproduce the timing of sunrises, sunsets, moonrises, and moonsets to trigger procreation.The Florida Aquarium will raise juvenile corals long enough to give them a better chance of survival (via The Florida Aquarium)“The massive and fully synchronized spawning at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation, which occurred exactly at the predicted wild spawning time, indicated perfect aquatic conditions for pillar corals in our Project Coral system,” senior researcher Keri O’Neil said in a statement.“When you have great husbandry, great water quality, and all of the right environmental cues, this is what you can do,” she boasted. “You can change the game for coral restoration.”Moving forward, the aquarium plans to raise its juvenile corals long enough to give them a better chance of survival than if they’d been larvae in the ocean. The team will eventually use them to repopulate the Florida Reef Tract—perhaps using robots?“While many coral experts didn’t believe it could be done, we took that challenge to heart and dedicated our resources and expertise to achieve this monumental outcome,” according to Germann.“We remain fiercely committed to saving North America’s only barrier reef,” he continued, “and will now work even harder to protect and restore our Blue Planet.”The Florida Aquarium researchers are also working on different approaches to save multiple endangered species of coral imperative to the restoration and overall health of the local reef.More on Geek.com:Climate Change + Human Excrement = Death of Coral ReefsA Team of Special Forces Veterans Is Helping Save Florida’s Barrier ReefKey West, Florida Bans Sunscreens That Harm Coral ReefsPhotos: Eerie Underwater Sculptures Help Reef Growthlast_img read more