170-billion Coral sperms banked to save future of reefs in Australia
Sydney : Scientists in Australia have been recently scooping out a variety of sperms to save a future of the most valuable treasures in the sea - Great Barrier Reef.
In mid-November for approximately three weeks, the scientists collected over 170 billion sperm samples from 31 coral colonies, representing eight species of hard corals at Heron Island.
The collected samples have been flash frozen and added to the vaults of the world’s largest coral sperm bank, held at the Taronga Conservation Society’s Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales.
Ultimately, the scientists would like to bank all 400 or so coral species that make up the famous 1,400-mile-long reef system, says Mary Hagedorn, a Smithsonian marine biologist who pioneered the technique of freezing coral sperm.
Making a race against time, the scientists are trying their best to collect all samples of reefs before they become a history. “The problem for us,” says Hagedorn, who is based in Hawaii, “is that we can’t train enough people or move fast enough.”
Much of the north section of the Great Barrier Reef already sits in ruin after warm waters caused unprecedented coral die-offs in the summers of 2016 and 2017.
(Facts and quotes taken from National Geographic report)