Coral reefs around the world have been in decline for decades. Since the 1960s, for example, Florida’s Coral Reef, has lost more than 90 percent of its corals. Recently, researchers have begun to outplant nursery-grown corals in an attempt to restore the reef. Applying a variation of this approach to the slow-growing, reef-supporting mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata), we and our colleagues at Mote Marine Laboratory in the Florida Keys were able to achieve sexually mature corals that spawned in just five years.
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Hanna R. Koch is a Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Mote Marine Laboratory’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration in Summerland Key, Florida. Mote Senior Scientist Erinn Muller is Manager of both the Coral Health & Disease Research Program and the Coral Restoration Program. Michael P. Crosby is a Senior Scientist and the president & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.