Coral reefs are declining worldwide due to global warming, ocean acidification, sedimentation, eutrification, African dust storms and mechanical damage, just to name a few. Caribbean scleractinian corals have declined as much as 90% in many locations. The Caribbean Elkhorn Coral, Acropora palmata
and the Caribbean Staghorn Coral, Acropora cervicornis
, are the two major reef building corals in the Caribbean. Both of these species are on the IUCN Red list of Endangered Species and both are listed as critically endangered. There is a reproductive bottleneck that is making it increasingly difficult for these corals to reproduce sexually in the wild.
SECORE has become the main coral reef conservation project in zoos and public aquariums around the world. Coral Reef Conservation on the Island of Curacao is a collaborative effort among public aquarium professionals and researchers. This collaboration links research efforts and excellence in coral reef husbandry, education and conservation. The mission of this endeavor is to develop techniques for the sexual propagation of the critically endangered corals. The goals of this project are three fold. The first goal is to reproduce these corals sexually as to enhance genetic diversity. The second goal is to use these sexually reproduced corals, growing in flow-thru systems, for coral reef restoration research efforts by outplanting them back onto the reefs at different sizes. The third goal is to monitor these corals at the outplant sites and in the flow-thru systems for growth and survivorship.
For more information on SECORE, please click here