Regrowing a Coral Reef


Coral reefs are under threat. Recreational boating and increased shipping have increased the risk to coral reefs from humanity, and increased temperatures have caused coral acidification. There are scientists and biologists around the world trying to help protect coral reefs and revive some of their lost areas. A team in Florida is growing coral on PVC piping then transplanting the coral to endangered areas.

It shows little branches of staghorn coral growing on a “tree” made of PVC pipes. Harvested from wild coral colonies when they’re only 5 cm long, these samples will double in size every two months while attached to the tree. Once they’ve put on enough heft, they’re transplanted to new homes on damaged coral reefs, where they grow into the surrounding environment and help to restore ecosystems that could otherwise be lost. I’d heard about coral restoration before, but had never seen pictures of the process. At the RJD website, you can see a series of photos that take you through it step-by-step. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks a lot like underwater gardening — similar to grafting fruit trees.

More at the RJD website.
Via bOing.

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