16 Nov
Planting Coral to Save the Great Barrier Reef Planting Coral to Save the Great Barrier Reef

Planting Coral to Save the Great Barrier Reef

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Southern Cross University’s Professor Peter Harrison and Queensland University of Technology’s Professor Matthew Dunbabin recently came up with a plan to restore coral reefs that succeeded in winning an innovation challenge sponsored by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The proposal involves creating identical coral "babies" and then placing them with the assistance of robotics. The Out of the Blue Box Reef Innovation Challenge will provide $225,000 USD (approximately $300,000 AUD) to help the concept grow to fruition.

It's intended that the new "babies" will be planted this month at the same time that coral spawns every year on the Great Barrier Reef.

Scientists hope to collect hundreds of millions of spawn from corals that have managed to weather a pair of large-scale "coral bleachings"; then, the scientists will nurture the "babies" inside substantial floating containers.

In a press release, Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden said, “The highly innovative project brings together the scientist who pioneered the coral IVF (larval reseeding) technique, with the robotics team that created RangerBot, the award-winning autonomous reef protector.”

By significantly increasing the number of coral spawn that can be effectively used, the scientists' strategy is to create as many as 100 times the amount of coral "babies" that would normally be produced -- and, at the same time, place them where they are most needed.

Ms. Marsden added, “The recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report has reinforced there is a closing window of opportunity for the world to act on climate change and the sharp threat facing coral reefs globally."

The winning concept could not only help the Great Barrier Reef but also others in need of assistance around the world.

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Read 2107 times Last modified on Wednesday, 07 November 2018 05:30
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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