Home / Science / A scientific breakthrough in the Florida Aquarium could be America's 'Great Barrier Reef'. rescue

A scientific breakthrough in the Florida Aquarium could be America's 'Great Barrier Reef'. rescue

The milestone could have far-reaching implications for "America's Barrier Reef", the world's third largest coral reef located just off the coast of the Florida Keys.

The successful result is part of what the aquarium is called "Project Coral" – a program that was developed in part with the goal of finally repopulating the Florida Reef Tract. The project is working with the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, to create coral spawn or large egg deposits in a laboratory.

"It's pure excitement to be the world's first breakthrough," said Roger Germann, CEO of the Florida Aquarium, to CNN. "Our team of experts has cracked the code … giving hope to the coral in the Florida Reef Tract and coral in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean."

No coral has ever spawned for corals that are native to the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, the system has been set up to work. Many coral experts even doubted, according to Germann, that the efforts of the aquarium would lead to successful results.

The team began researching the Staghorn Coral, which originally started in 201

4. Then, however, the focus shifted to the pillar coral due to a disease that has afflicted the Florida Reef Tract. Pillar corals are now considered almost extinct, as the remaining male and female groups are too far apart to multiply.

  Columnar coral in the greenhouse of Flordia Aquarium in Tampa, Florida.

Spawning now shows that genetic diversity and resilience are possible and will help to keep the ecosystems and Florida's tourism industry intact

"Now there is really hope … I think we can do it save, "Germann added.

The next steps are to continue the project and build more greenhouses so that the aquarium and the scientists involved in the project can work to create a better ecosystem for all wild animals.

"We'll start it up, we will not rest, we want to see a varied coral reef," said Germann.
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