A marine biologist is postponing retirement until he plants a million corals, after discovering he can grow a reef that would normally take up to 75 years in just three years
A marine biologist in Florida was about to retire when he accidentally shattered a piece of coral into a bunch of tiny pieces in his lab and they started growing 40 times faster than they grow in the wild.
Coral normally takes between 25 and 75 years to reach sexual maturity. The new technique called “micro fragmenting” reduces it to just three years.
With around half as much coral in the ocean today as there was just 50 years ago, it’s a revolutionary discovery that could literally save the planet.
“My Eureka moment — or Eureka mistake — was when I broke a coral into tiny pieces,” says Dr. Dave Vaughn, the program manager for coral restoration at the Mote Tropical Research Center:
“I thought it was going to die and be very stressed. Instead it grew like the dickens.”
Each piece grew to a size that normally took a few years in just a few weeks.
Furthermore, the method works on every single species of coral found in the Florida Reef.
“I’ve postponed my retirement until I see a million corals replanted back on the reef,” he says in the BBC interview below:
“We’ve lost between 25 and 40 percent of the world’s coral,” Vaughn says in the video above. “If you’re wondering if that’ll make a difference or not, you should ask yourself if you like to breathe.”
He notes that land plants produce only about a third of the oxygen we breathe. The rest comes from the ocean.
Vaughan’s team now plans on teaching his method to conservationists around the world so they can collectively plant one million corals within the next few years.
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