IVF treat­ment may breathe new life into coral reefs

Southeast Asia Globe - - Next -

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

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