Florida Aquarium achieves major breakthrough to save Atlantic coral


  • Photo via Florida Aquarium
For the first time ever in a lab setting, Tampa’s Florida Aquarium reached a major conservation milestone by reproducing coral two days in a row.

In partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens, the ambitious program is called Project Coral, and is focused on creating coral spawns in a lab, which could eventually help repopulate the nearly extinct pillar coral of the Florida Reef Tract.

"It's pure excitement to be the first to achieve a breakthrough in the world," CEO of the Florida Aquarium Roger Germann to CNN. "Our team of experts cracked the code... that gives hope to coral in the Florida Reef Tract and to coral in the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans."

The project, which uses advanced LED technology to help signal the corals to reproduce, began back in 2014 with a focus on Staghorn coral, and his since shifted to pillar coral now that the species is classified as almost extinct.

Since generating a spawn for corals native to the Atlantic has never been done before, the breakthrough is a rare sign of hope for the embattled "America's Barrier Reef," which is located off the coast of the Florida Keys and has suffered considerably from bleaching events.

“Project Coral is ‘game-changing,’ said Scott Graves, Director of The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation, “allowing us to spawn corals on site, create multiple spawning events across the year and drastically speed up restoration work to ensure the survival of Florida’s reef.”

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