Friday, 6 December 2013

A last chance to save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: Scientists launch audacious plan to create ‘fertility clinic’ to breed endangered coral

The spring spawning of coral on the Great Barrier Reef is a grand affair, with vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean turning red as millions of sperm and eggs are released, in a spectacle that is visible from space.

Last month, divers and snorkellers marvelling at the event were joined by scientists with a deadly serious purpose: to harvest billions of sperm and eggs, and then freeze them, in an effort to save corals in the World Heritage-listed reef from extinction.

The world’s largest living organism has shrunk by about half over the past 30 years as a result of climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and crown-of-thorns starfish, which prey on coral.

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