Restoring coral reefs possible with new Univ. Amsterdam research

UvA seeding unit with coral growing on it
UvA seeding unit with coral growing on itPhoto: SECORE International / Valérie Chamberland

The University of Amsterdam achieved a great breakthrough in the preservation of coral reefs. Research by the university's Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamic found a successful method of breeding coral species, the university announced. 

The results were recently published on the scientific magazine Scientific Reports.   

Without intervention, around 90 percent of the corals in the oceans will be dead due to global warming and overfishing by 2050, according to warnings from scientists over the past years. To prevent this from happening, scientists have been trying to strengthen the still existing corals, and the UvA provided a huge contribution to the cause.

Researches collected coral larvae for the damaged "golfbal" coral reefs in Curaçao and placed them in special "seed-units" in a lab. When the larvae grew into a healthy piece of coral, they were placed back into the sea. The units on which they would grow were shaped exactly in a form that would fit in the coral reef. "Most of the seed-units were stable within a week. After a year more than half of the units could be found with at least one coral growing on them" explained the study director Valeria Chamberland. 

The researchers next step will be to work on how to speed up the strengthening process. Researcher Mark Vermeij told Editie NL: "Coral grows really slowly, it requires a long-term approach. But it seems promising, this is the first step towards a large-scale breeding, and thereby the restoring of the reefs".