Climate Action

New project launches to regenerate coral reef

A new project aimed at regenerating coral reef has begun in Queensland.

  • 29 November 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

A new project aimed at regenerating coral reef has begun in Queensland.

The Larval Restoration Project aims to repair the reproductive life cycles of corals and to re-establish breeding populations on damaged reefs in the Vlasoff and Arlington Reef area off Cairns.

The team will harvest millions of coral eggs and sperm during the upcoming spawning event to grow new coral larvae, which will be released back onto heavily degraded parts of the northern Great Barrier Reef.

The annual coral spawning takes place every year around the October / November full moons. A successful spawning is not only vital for this project, but also shows that the Reef is alive and has potential to recover from the back-to-back bleaching events of 2016 and 2017.

Peter Harrison, Professor at Southern Cross University, said: “This is the first time that the entire process of large scale larval rearing and settlement will be undertaken directly on reefs on the Great Barrier Reef. Our team will be restoring hundreds of square meters with the goal of getting to square kilometres in the future, a scale not attempted previously.”

This project is a collaboration between researchers Peter Harrison (SCU), Katie Chartrand (James Cook University) and David Suggett (University of Technology Sydney), the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service, as well as other key industry partners.

Katie Chartrand, James Cook University, said: “We hope to make direct partnerships between science and other industry partners the norm rather than the exception as these innovations develop. Collaboration is fundamental to a successful outcome.”

This news follows the Pacific Island, Palau, banning a reef-toxic sunscreen product which was responsible for bleaching the coral.

Photograph: Southern Cross University/Biopixel