From: UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Published July 26, 2017 02:42 PM

Coral Gardening Is Benefiting Caribbean Reefs, Study Finds

A new study found that Caribbean staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) are benefiting from “coral gardening,” the process of restoring coral populations by planting laboratory-raised coral fragments on reefs.

The research, led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and partners, has important implications for the long-term survival of coral reefs worldwide, which have been in worldwide decline from multiple stressors such as climate change and ocean pollution.

“Our study showed that current restoration methods are very effective,” said UM Rosenstiel school coral biologist Stephanie Schopmeyer, the lead author of the study. “Healthy coral reefs are essential to our everyday life and successful coral restoration has been proven as a recovery tool for lost coastal resources.”

In the study, the researchers set out to document restoration success during their initial two years at several coral restoration sites in Florida and Puerto Rico. Their findings showed that current restoration methods are not causing excess damage to donor colonies as a result of removing coral tissue to propagate new coral in the lab, and that once outplanted, corals behave just as wild colonies do.

Continue reading at UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Photo: Staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) are propagated within underwater coral nurseries to create a sustainable source of corals for use in coral restoration activities (inset). Outplanted corals have similar survival and productivity values as wild colonies, thereby indicating that coral gardening methodologies are successful in creating healthy corals for restoration.

Photo Credits: Stephanie Schopmeyer, UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

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