Restoring Reefs With Coral Gardening

Scientists in Florida believe that coral gardening is how our reefs will be restored.

A participant in the Rescue a Reef program attaches a coral fragment to the ocean floor in Key Biscayne, Florida. Photo by Rescue a Reef Program/Facebook

I was lucky enough to visit the Great Barrier Reef and see the wonder of it firsthand. It’s upsetting to see how it and other reefs are being affected by such things as climate change and ocean acidification. In light of the reefs’ fragility under such rapid changes, marine biologists are seeking out ways to restore them. One such way is through coral gardening. In other words, “marine biologists cut off the tips of live branching corals, hang the pieces on man-made underwater trees where they grow, and later ‘outplant’ them on real reefs on the ocean floor,” Business Insider reports.

A team of scientists in Florida attempted their method for several years before presenting it to the public. Recently, University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine Science senior research associate Stephanie Schopmeyer was part of a team of snorkelers and divers who traveled to Biscayne Bay to put the method into practice. The team planted coral and scrubbed algae off the manmade trees that housed Staghorn corals, according to Business Insider. The above-water members of the team made small discs that pieces of coral were later attached to and nailed to the ocean floor.

Citizens who wish to join the project may do so through a program called Rescue a Reef, run by the University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine Science. For more information about Rescue a Reef, visit their website.

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Fish · Lifestyle