One man’s happy accident has brought new hope to the recovery of coral reefs around the world.
Dr. David Vaughan stumbled upon the groundbreaking discovery as he was working with corals at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida. He had been trying to remove a coral from the bottom of a tank when it broke into a dozen pieces.
To his shock, all of the pieces regrew to the same size in just three short weeks, as opposed to the three years it had taken to grow the original coral.
Ordinarily, it takes coral reefs between 25 to 75 years to reach sexual maturity. This means that it can take up to 6 years just to plant 600 coral – but Vaughan’s process of breaking up corals for reproduction, which is called “micro-fragmenting”, helps them to grow 40 times faster than they do in the wild.
Furthermore, their tests showed that it works with every single species of coral found in the Florida Reef.
In fact, the method is so efficient, the researchers are reportedly producing coral faster than they can get tanks to hold them.
Vaughan’s team now plans on planting 100,000 corals on the Florida Reef Track by 2019. The researchers also plan on sharing their method with conservationists around the world so they can collectively plant one million corals within the next few years.
(WATCH the exciting BBC interview below)
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