FWC: Rescued Brain Boulder Corals Returned to Florida’s Coral Reef Restoration Hub
By Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission // December 6, 2020
Outplants will be monitored for growth, survivorship, responses to environment
(Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) – Last month, boulder brain corals (Colpophyllia natans) that spawned from rescued corals at The Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation were outplanted in Miami by Southeast Florida Coral Reef Restoration Hub and FWC divers.
The parent colonies were collected in 2018 as part of the Coral Rescue Project, a multi-agency effort to preserve genetic coral diversity in response to the multi-year stony coral tissue loss disease outbreak that has been causing widespread coral mortality along Florida’s Coral Reef since 2014.
The boulder brain corals spawned while in human care at The Florida Aquarium and were reared for 14 months prior to transport to the University of Miami for outplanting at three reef sites near Key Biscayne.
Larger corals were outplanted as single colonies while smaller corals were outplanted in clusters of three to promote fusion and rapid growth while also reducing predation by fish.
Outplants will be monitored for growth, survivorship, responses to environmental conditions, and potential exposure to stony coral tissue loss disease.
This outplanting of 375-second generation corals (i.e., juvenile corals spawned from adult rescue corals) represents the very first rescue corals returned to Florida’s Coral Reef since the start of the Coral Rescue Project.
Funding was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.