Great news for Florida's coral reefs
For the first time, scientists at the Florida Aquarium have coaxed Atlantic coral polyps to reproduce in a lab. They hope to repopulate the imperiled reefs along Florida's Atlantic coast.
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Six years ago this was done in the Pacific by Jaime Craggs of the Horner Museum and Gardens in London, but never in the Atlantic. After 2 years of work and $4.5 million, Keri O'Neil and her team managed to "trick" coral polyps to reproducing in a lab. In one event they had 30,000 spawned coral larva wiggling around the tanks. They scooped the little guys out of the spawning tanks and moved them into other tanks, where they will mature. After about another 2 years they hope to replant them in the Keys. This was only done on pillar coral, they hope to try next with maze coral. They hope the maze coral will spawn in about 3 months. Stay tuned!