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‘Coral IVF’ trial at Great Barrier Reef shows promise

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‘Coral IVF’ trial at Great Barrier Reef shows promise 1

An “IVF” treatment aimed at saving damaged parts of the Great Barrier Reef has shown signs of success rehabilitating coral populations, researchers said.

Peter Harrison, director of Southern Cross University’s Marine Ecology Research Center, said he’s “really excited” about the trial’s progress, which has seen more than 60 corals on their way to being able to reproduce again.

“This proves that the larvae restoration technique works just as we predicted and we can grow very large corals from tiny microscopic larvae within just a few years,” Harrison said.

Harrison and his team began working in 2016 on the larvae restoration technique, which involves gathering coral sperm and eggs.

After the larvae are cultured in specially designed enclosures for about a week, researchers then scatter them to parts of the reef damaged by bleaching.

The bleaching occurs when warmer waters caused by climate change destroy the algae which corals feed on, turning them white.

Researchers from James Cook University have found that reef had lost more than half of its coral in the past three decades.

The Great Barrier Reef — which runs 1,429 miles down Australia’s northeast coast — is listed at a world heritage site as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.

With Post wires

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