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Coral Love!
12 years ago
A full moon, a tropical breeze. A perfect setting for coral love, the one night a year when same-species coral release billions of eggs and sperm into the water with the intent of creating billions of babies in their image. And does it ever draw a crowd! Dr. Margaret Miller and her fellow researchers attend the annual August event off the coast of Florida not just to observe but to preserve as well. They collect buckets of egg-and-sperm laden seawater and take them back to the lab, where they pamper the hatching larvae for about a week. The corals-to-be are then transported to areas that scientists want to repopulate and released in hopes that they will settle in and begin the process of reef building. Such measures are necessary, it is felt, because reefs around the world are being damaged and destroyed by hunting, pollution, and warming water at such a rate that they’re not able to rejuvenate themselves. Artificial reefs have been successfully created in the past by providing structures that are inviting to coral, but Dr. Miller’s project is the first that actively seeks to establish new reefs by moving larvae to desired locations. The efforts are limited to the once-a-year spawning season and have been hindered the past couple of years by hurricane activity, but Dr. Miller and her team soon hope to be the proud surrogate parents of quadrilliontuplets.
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