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Coral Breeding Success Offers ‘Glimmer of Hope’ for Great Barrier Reef

Cookaa/Wikimedia Commons

A research team is reporting a “glimmer of hope” for ocean coral threatened by climate change, after successfully breeding baby coral on Australia’s iconic but endangered Great Barrier Reef.

“There is much more to be done, but this is definitely a great leap forward for the reef, and for the restoration and repair of reefs worldwide,” said Anna Marsden, managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. “It’s time to be bold and take some calculated risks because that’s the way we’ll make a change in how we can help restore our coral reefs.”

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A team led by Southern Cross University professor Peter Harrison collected coral eggs and sperm from Heron Island’s reef during spawning season last November, then returned the larvae to the wild and placed them on reef patches in underwater mesh tents. The Guardian reports that 100 of them survived.

“The success of this new research not only applies to the Great Barrier Reef, but has potential global significance,” Harrison said. “It’s a glimmer of hope.”