Scientists have begun the biggest attempt at coral regeneration at the endangered Great Barrier Reef by harvesting millions of creative eggs and sperm during their annual fetus.
Scientists said on Wednesday that they plan to grow corn harvested from harvested eggs and return them to reef areas that were heavily damaged by coral bleaching in connection with the climate.
"This is the first time that the whole breeding and settling process of large-scale larvae takes place directly on the cliff in the Great Barrier Reef," said Peter Harrison of Southern Cross University, one of the leading projects.
"Our team will restore hundreds of square meters in order to reach square kilometers in the future, which has not been attempted before," he said.
The Larval Restoration Project has been timed to coincide with the annual coral reef product that began this week and will last only about 48 to 72 hours.
Coral reefs from the 2,300 km of the cliff were killed by the rise in sea temperatures associated with climate change that left the remains of the skeleton in a process known as coral bleaching.
The Northern Valley of the Cliff suffered unprecedented two consecutive years of heavy bleaching in 2016 and 2017, raising fears that they could suffer irreparable damage.
Harrison and his colleagues hope their research project can help reverse the trend, but warned that the effort alone would not be enough to keep the cliff.
"Climate action is the only way to ensure that coral reefs can survive the future," he said.
"Our approach to rebuilding cliffs aims to buy time to survive and develop coral populations as long as emissions are not limited and our climate stabilizes."
Scientists hope that coral cells that have survived bleaching have greater tolerance to rising temperatures, so breeding populations produced from this year's yield will grow into corals that will be better able to survive future bleaching.
Scientists who also include experts from James Cook University and the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS) have said that the novelty of their research project is the growth of coral larvae along with microscopic algae. They both live in a symbiosis on a cliff.
"So we're trying to speed up this process to see if the survival and early growth of young coral can be backed up by quick algae," explains David Suggett of the UTS.
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