MAR 05, 2017 4:58 PM PST

Growing coral: A restoration project


Reef restoration is a hot topic as ocean acidification from industrial pollution is bleaching and killing corals at a disturbing rate around the world. According to Dr. David Vaughan, we've lost 25-40% of the world's corals already. And that isn't just affecting the fish (and people who eat the fish). Ocean vegetation are responsible for producing about two thirds of the planet's oxygen. Dr. Vaughan reminds us to ask ourselves: "Do you breathe?"

Using a method that Dr. Vaughan happened upon by accident, scientists are able to take small fragments of certain coral species and give them the right environment to make them multiply. They are even able to simulate what the ocean conditions will be like in the coming decades so as to hypothesize which corals will best be able to thrive in warmer and more acidic temperatures. Then they introduce the corals into degraded reefs in an effort to revitalize the ecosystems.

Vaughan and his team at Mote Marine Laboratory aim to "plant" one million corals in the Florida Keys. He says he bets they can do it within 3-5 years.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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