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Chance for sea corals: Can be artificially propagated and return to the sea cliffs

State laboratory Mote, both less than forty kilometers from the sunny Florida Keys, the rewriting of history. Marine biologist David Vaughan have already been successfully tested method of artificial breeding of coral. His work could represent a major breakthrough in the rescue and recovery of bleached reef, which collectively are dying because of climate change, acidification of the seas and ocean pollution. Reports on the New York Times.

We just cooled the region of excessive enthusiasm: work that Research Laboratory and Mote Aquarium is performing, they probably will not lead directly to reverse the process of bleaching and dying coral in tropical seas. But they can restore life to coral reefs, whether those dying or already dead. Vaughan had figured out a way to fractions of different coral species to breed and multiply efficiently in artificial conditions and then transplant them back under the surface. And at least at the level of the Florida-Caribbean coral bands are doing this experiment yet. Work Vaughan and his colleagues becoming increasingly important also because we are in the last decades have lost 25-40% of the original area of ​​coral reefs.

"And if you think about it, if it means anything, so I have to ask: are breathing love?" Says Vaughan. Corals are not only colorful undersea gardens full of life. "We should not forget that only a third of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by terrestrial plant biomass," says Vaughan. "Two-thirds of the oxygen produced by the seas and oceans. And the production significantly contributes just coral reefs. "What are we actually doing a marine biologist at the lab that due to the amount of covered tanks, pumps and hoses bubbling looks more like a refinery? "I'm actually behave corals, which then planted back into the sea, to renew the coral reefs," answers the question bearded executive director of laboratories at Mote. The entire research project is somewhat more complicated.


The beginning of his work dates to the "accident" that Vaughan became around 2010. At that time, own carelessness broke fished a piece of coral. He reckoned that the fragments quickly die, but is put in a water bath. After some time found that cleaved pieces vice versa overgrown in volume and size and one broken coral in optimal conditions, a number of smaller and viable. Elaboration of this procedure dobrali method called. Mikrofragmentace. When there are several polyps from the parent colony applied to the optimal underlying substrate (travertine, limestone) and artificially maintained in climate-pump flush tank is grown. And because optimal conditions in the tanks can not be compared with those in the sea, 'and it grows like crazy! "Says Vaughan. More precisely 25x to 50x faster.

Otherwise corals grow very slowly in the next centuries, but the pieces in laboratory tanks shorten this time significantly. "People say that technology in the world messed up," says Vaughan. "But this is something real, tangible, what technology can do and save. We corals fix it and get back into the sea. "Christopher Page, a biologist at Mote laboratory employee, is the evaluation of the pros mikrofragmentace cautious. According to him, it is indeed amazing technique and the possibility of mass cultivation of coral are very promising, but as he says, "are corrected and do not save the corals all. But certainly at the more pessimistic scenario with mirkofragmentace we can buy some time. And if we were more optimistic? Yes, we can restore the entire ecosystem. "

Benefits Laboratories in Mote is one more essential element. In several tanks with corals are artificially maintained suboptimal conditions that model the expected quality status of the seas for a hundred years. Scientists from Florida so offers an uncommon glimpse into the future: they see that corals will survive and which will be counted among the endangered if the water is warmer and more acidic. This will enable to prepare the necessary rescue plan and prepare for possible variants of development.

And how the planting corals back into the sea? "With a good financing is only sky the limit of our project," he adds with a smile Vaughan. "A thousand centimeter of coral colonies can produce today for four days." To the joy has a reason. Of the 150 experimental micro-colonies of laboratory tanks dropped back into the sea, 134 of them has survived and is growing again.

Successful attempts to return to the coral seas count of Mote and "grafting" live colonies of dead coral. For now, this happened only 18 locations where it was always an identical species. "But so far they are doing very well. Within two years we will see a coral reef in the state, which would require 15-30 years of growth, "said Vaughan, who also growing appetite for larger projects. "We would use approximately 200 colonies napěstovaných we planted them dead reef, say the size of a used Volkswagen. And there would be a change in the approaching state in which we probably after a year of growth not know if we are looking not millennial coral. "

Marine biologist David Vaughan is not going to retire. He may be 61 years, but still actively sinking below the surface to monitor the growth of cultured corals. "No one is so old that he could not dive. I'm going to retire, I'll put up a million coral. And that this rate could be so in 3-5 years. "

Radomír Dohnal

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