IVF treatment may breathe new life into coral reefs
An experimental, ocean-based In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment in the Philippines could result in a major breakthrough in how scientists restore coral life, such as that found in the Great Barrier Reef.
As part of scientific efforts to find ways to force coral into reproducing, professor Peter Harrison of Southern Cross University in Australia has developed a form of coral IVF.
Harrison was awarded a $1.2m grant from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research to release millions of coral larvae onto a damaged reef off the coast of the Philippines. The Southeast Asian archipelagic nation was “an ideal location to do this pioneering research”, according to Harrison.
Harrison was able to successfully re-establish a breeding population of coral larvae on the reef, which will grow big enough to reproduce on their own after just three years. While Harrison admits that the initiative is still in its infancy, he is confident it could be used to restore coral killed off by mass bleaching in other sites.
The Great Barrier Reef could benefit from experiments being carried out in the Philippines