Coral Reef preservation at Moody Gardens, my sponsor organization!

Photo credit: JW Porter/University of Georgia via NPR.org

The main sponsor of my Exxpedition journey, Moody Gardens, has really amped up their conservation efforts in the last few years and I am very proud to join their staff once again. One of my friends who is an aquarist there, Ryan Hannum, has a soft spot for corals. Not just soft corals either. All types (see what I did there?) He has created partnerships with local hobby aquarists to propagate more coral species. So cool! In addition to that program, Moody Gardens has been housing precious corals from Florida’s reefs

“About 100 Florida coral colonies are now living in a display tank at Moody Gardens aquarium in Galveston, Texas, one of a dozen new homes for the invertebrate animal colonies.”

“Recently, we have been suffering from a really bad outbreak of coral disease,” said Andrew Baker, associate professor of marine biology and fisheries at the Rosenstiel School.

“Until we understand the disease and find a cure, we’re trying to protect the genetic diversity of the corals by rescuing them and growing them in captivity. Someday, we may be able to repopulate the reef with those corals.”

The school has retrieved over 700 coral colonies, including 400 in July that were chiseled off the reef around the Dry Tortugas. The corals rescued earlier spawned in late August in tanks in Miami, which Baker said was a welcome sign that scientists were proceeding correctly. The school collects fertilized eggs after spawning and attempts to grow new colonies.

The first few hundred coral samples were sent to a network of care providers at public zoos and aquariums, who will look after them for the foreseeable future.

For the full article: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/09/13/US-aquariums-try-to-save-Florida-corals-as-disease-spreads/9961568210880/?spt=su&or=btn_tw&fbclid=IwAR2XzS_-uXI4gQ8TEB4XkMqGm7ubce7M0_UWGW5nUaA5kdLl9IRX40rQheU

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