The photograph, taken on September 22, 2014, shows the Ocean Freedom diving instructor on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. According to government data, a reef of 2,300 kilometers annually accounts for the Australian economy in the amount of 5.4 billion Australian dollars ($ 4.8 billion) through tourism, fisheries and scientific research, while supporting 67,000 jobs. According to a report by the Australian government in August, the prospects for the largest living structure of the Earth are “poor”, with climate change being the most serious threat to the vast ecosystem of coral reefs. (AFP PHOTO / William WEST)
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(AFP) – Scientists have launched the biggest attempt at regeneration coral on the endangered Great Barrier reef by collecting millions of eggs and sperm of creatures during their annual spawning.
Researchers said they plan to grow on Wednesday coral larvae from collected eggs and return them to areas reef which were severely damaged by climatic coral whitening
"This is the first time that the whole process of large-scale hopper rearing and settlement will be carried out directly on reefs on the Great Barrier reef– said Peter Harrison from the University of Southern Cross, one of the project leaders.
“Our team will be restoring hundreds of square meters in order to reach square kilometers in the future, a scale that has not been undertaken before,” he said in a statement.
The project "Recovery of the larvae project" was timed to the annual coral appearing on reef, which began earlier this week and will last only from 48 to 72 hours.
coral along large sections of the 2300 km (1400 mile) reef were killed by rising sea temperatures associated with climate changes, leaving remnants of the skeleton in a process known as coral whitening
Northern areas reef survived an unprecedented two consecutive years of serious bleaching in 2016 and 2017, raising concerns that this could cause irreparable damage.
Harrison and his colleagues hope that their transplant project could help reverse the trend, but he warned that there would not be enough effort to save the reef.
"climate action is the only way to ensure coral reefs can survive in the future, ”he said.
“Our approach to reef recovery aims to ensure that coral population to survive and develop until emissions are limited, and climate stabilizes. "
Scientists hope that coral who have experienced bleaching, have greater resistance to fever, so the breeding population produced from this year's caviar, coral better able to survive in future bleaching events.
Researchers, who also include experts from the University of James Cook and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), said the novelty of their transplant project should have grown coral larvae with microscopic algae. They live in symbiosis on the reef.
“Thus, we are striving to speed up this process in order to find out whether it is possible to increase the survival rate and early growth of young corals due to the rapid uptake of algae,” explained David Saverette from UTS
© Agence France-Presse