Featured Image Credit: ELI Africa
By: Sarah Sharkey
A team of scientists is working hard to save endangered coral species before they are all gone. The rate at which corals are disappearing is frightening, so these researchers from the Florida Aquarium have decided to help corals without worrying about political boundaries.
The Florida Aquarium team has collaborated with Cuba’s National Aquarium in order to start restoring coral reefs around the island country.
Scott Grave and Mike Terrell are the two leaders of the Florida Aquarium that are making this happen. In May they worked off the western portion of Cuba to expand an underwater coral nursery. The nursery of young corals is crucial to help restore natural coral reefs.
The aquarium has sent a team to Cuba five times and the extent of their efforts is starting to increase dramatically. Within a year the aquarium plans to collect coral egg and sperm bundles from the nursery in Cuba. That is a huge step! It will be the first time that process will be done in Cuba and it will help to increase the pace of collaborative restoration research.
Coral in Cuba is actually doing much better than other areas of the Caribbean and Floridian waters. No one has nailed down the reasons why Cuban coral is surviving, but hopefully, a closer look at the DNA collected will help scientists understand the differences. If we can figure out why these corals are still alive, then we can potentially use that knowledge to save other coral around the world.
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