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Regrowing Coral

August 26, 2009

Researchers and volunteers are regrowing imperiled coral reefs by hand.


Gardening coral. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The Central American country of Belize has the world’s second largest barrier reef. But marine biologist Lisa Carne says that intense hurricanes, coral bleaching and disease have destroyed much of the reef, especially the majestic elkhorn corals.

"And they used to be the most dominant corals in the Caribbean and 98% of their abundance has disappeared in just thirty years."

That’s why Carne is developing new ways to re-grow the corals. She takes bits of living coral and attaches them to cement disks, wire frames and even lengths of rope.

We planted I think, over 700 fragments here in southern Belize. So within a year or so, we’re going to be able to trim and outcrop and plant back a lot of these corals in some of these areas that have been ravished by hurricanes and bleaching."

She’ll be joined by an army of tour guides and other volunteers to help with the replanting. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

For more information on how researchers are re-growing coral, visit coral expert Austin Bowden-Kerby’s website: