Portable coral factories to be developed

Portable coral factories to be developed

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Imagine portable coral aquariums being established in remote areas to propagate young corals.... can this be a solution to the decline of coral reefs worldwide?

To safeguard the survival of coral reefs around the world, portable aquariums can be set up in remote areas to propagate young corals that can be used for reef restoration.

Known as ReefSeed, this containerised system is being developed by Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in collaboration with the Maldives Marine Research Institute (MMRI). 

Each of these portable aquariums can propagate up to 100,000 young corals at a time. According to AIMS Coral Reproduction and Aquaculture Research Team Leader Dr Muhammad Abdul Wahab, ReefSeed’s portability enabled it to be set up next to a beach, drawing water from the ocean and using an independent power source for filtration, pumps, and temperature control. 

ReefSeed will be deployed in the Maldives in 2025. To this end, during the 2024 autumn spawning, MMRI marine biologists and technicians will work alongside the AIMS team in AIMS’ National Sea Simulator to learn how to conduct large-scale coral spawning and production methods to generate coral larvae for restoration.

Deployment devices

These conservation methods had been developed under the Australian Government’s Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), in which coral larvae are being settled onto sheets and then assembled into deployment devices.

“These devices have been engineered to maximise coral survival rates, with protective features to limit mortality from grazing herbivore fish. They are used to deploy the corals on carefully selected reefs to help drive restoration,” said Dr Abdul Wahab.

ReefSeed was among 14 projects from 20 nations that were awarded funds this year by the Coral Research and Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP) to help secure the future of coral reefs in light of climate change and other environmental pressures.