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Great Barrier Reef to be restored with "coral IVF"

Australian scientists are trying to rebuild the Great Barrier Reef using IVF style coral techniques.

Experts will try to capture millions of coral eggs and sperm in the annual coral spawning period, which was set up as a reptile moth project called IVF Great Barrier Reef.

After that, tiny corals will grow a floating buom for about a week, and when the larvae are ready, they will be brought back to the most dangerous parts of the reefs.

Great barrier coral transfer. Pics: Biopixel / James Cook University
Experts will try to pick up millions of coral eggs and sperm. Pics: Biopixel / James Cook University

Professor Peter Harrison of the South Pass of the University of New South Wales, one of the project's leaders, called it "the largest larval project that has ever been tried not only for the Great Barrier Reef but around the world."

He said, "For the first time, we will try to scale large coral spawning events into captivating millions of eggs and sperm. We create a swarm of fishermen flying down to the Moore River to Cairns.

"Our team will restore hundreds of square meters to reach square kilometers in the future, and never tried to scale."

The start of the annual coral spawning week started at 48 and 72 hours, as many millions of coral eggs and semen enter the waters of Cairns, North Queensland.

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The rising sea temperature of climate change has ruined the length of the 2300-km (1429-mile) reefs of the World Heritage Site, leaving behind the remains of skeletal corals – commonly known as mass whitening.


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Professor Harson said their goal is to prevent coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017, and some fears may be irreversible.

"In the Great Barrier Reef, we've lost more than half of the corals in the last two bleaching events," he said.

Great barrier coral transfer. Pics: Biopixel / James Cook University
Experts are afraid that damage can be irreversible. Pics: Biopixel / James Cook University

"We've lost so much coral that less coral can be spawned and fertilizer rates will be lower, and lobster billions of reef should naturally be supplemented [won’t be produced]. "

The project team hopes that re-exploration can help change the trend, but he warned that efforts would be insufficient to save the reefs and that stronger action is needed on climate change.

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