Coral transplant: how reefs are given new life

(ORDO NEWS) — Even tourists can take part in a coral transplant and rooting program that is threatened by climate change, storms and fading.

The beautiful but fragile coral reefs in tropical oceans around the world are threatened by climate change and storms. Travelers can help restore them by participating in a coral transplant program.

National Geographic researcher Paola Rodriguez-Troncoso worked in Mexico: in many ways, she transplanted 6,000 coral fragments over six years. How it happened: Divers collected corals from the ocean floor that had been knocked off the reefs by storms and waves, and then tied the extracted fragments to the lower sections of the same (or nearby) reef. Transplant methods vary by region.

For example, where reefs separate the lagoon from the ocean (as in French Polynesia in the photo above), broken pieces of coral are first placed in underwater nurseries to allow them to recover before replanting.

Resorts and conservation organizations actively encourage people to participate in such programs. To avoid doing more harm than good, Rodriguez-Troncoso advises against joining unauthorized promotions such as those in which enthusiasts deliberately break off healthy corals. Found at the bottom of the oceans and properly transplanted, fragments of coral grow slowly, but can give a long life to the reef.


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