For the first time, researchers were able to stimulate the growth of corals through a new technique called “larval reseeding.” They say the new technique is less expensive but more effective than other reef restoration techniques.
How Does ‘Larval Reseeding’ Works?
To test the new method, a team of researchers from the Southern Cross University in Australia headed to the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 to collect large amounts of coral eggs and sperm during mass coral spawning.
Mass coral spawning takes place once every year and involves eggs and sperm being released into the water column all at the same time. This phenomenon was co-discovered by Professor Peter Harrison, lead researcher of the pioneering project.
After collecting the eggs and sperm, the team used them to develop a massive amount of coral larvae, and then placed the larvae on reef patches in underwater mesh tents.
After one year, the team went back to Heron Island in time for the next mass coral spawning and discovered that the baby corals had managed to successfully establish themselves on the reef.
Works Better Than Other Techniques
Harrison said the results they found were very promising. The method they used appears to be more effective than other reef restoration techniques such as coral gardening.
Coral gardening involves fragmenting healthy wild corals, growing them in underwater nurseries and then, transplanting them onto the reef. Harrison added that this is the most widely used technique in other reef regions, but it is more expensive and sometimes, a complete failure.