Tampa, Fl. August 9, 2018 – A team of scientists and divers from the Florida Aquarium just returned after spending 15 days in the Florida Keys for a generation of corals. The team collected 150,000 coral gametes (coral eggs and sperm) during the deposition of corals, which occurs only once a year after the full moon. The team fertilized the eggs and then released thousands of dollars in kind. The remaining fertilized eggs, or embryos, are distributed to the Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation, the Georgia Aquarium, the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and the Nova Southeastern University to continue research and grow coral for a future release.
at a critical juncture, since Florida is in the middle of the largest ever-recorded coral outbreak, which is rapidly killing 20 different coral species in the Florida Keys. The species of staghorn corals, the primary species that was collected during the deposition of the coral, are not immediately threatened by the disease. However, it is listed as threatened by the law on endangered species.
Scientists are trying to understand what is causing the epidemic and how to stop it. The epidemic makes the work on the reproduction of corals even more important because it is necessary to breed offspring.
"This work is more critical than ever because of the current epidemic in the Florida Keys," said Keri O & # 39; Neil, Coral Nursery Manager for the Florida Aquarium. "These laboratory fertilization techniques can be used to save many species of corals in the future."
O & # 39; Neil believes that the practice of techniques can replenish Florida's damaged barriers with corals raised in the laboratory of the Florida Conservation Center at Apollo Beach. The laboratory already hosts the corals collected from the spawn of the last year that will celebrate their birthday of one year and will be released again in the ocean by the end of the year.
The gametes were collected from the Coral Restoration Foundation Coral Nursery, with work conducted by permission from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The team collaborated with several partners, including the Keys Marine Laboratory, the Coral Restoration Foundation, Nova Southeastern University, the University of Florida, the Southeast Zoo Alliance for Reproduction and Conservation ( SEZARC), the marine laboratory and aquarium Mote, Sea World, Georgia Aquarium and Horniman Museum and Gardens.
"I think it is a good example of the strengths of the partnerships that the Florida Aquarium has been trained to help save coral reefs," said O & Neil.
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Additional information about Coral:
Corals are not plants, they are actually animals.
Called "the rainforests of the sea", the coral reefs occupy only 2% of the ocean floor, but they are home to about 25% of all oceanic species.
Coral reefs It grows very slowly, at an average rate of only two centimeters per year.
Every single coral is known as an octopus.
The deposition of corals synchronized corals is a spectacular event. This mass reproduction takes place only once a year.
Involves colonies and species of coral polyps by simultaneously releasing miniscule packs of eggs and spermatozoa in the water.
The Florida Aquarium is a 501 (c) (3) non-per-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire the management of the natural environment. The Florida Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).