Coral Conservation Complex
The Florida Aquarium’s Coral Conservation Center is comprised of three large Coral Care & Rearing Greenhouses and our Coral Spawning Laboratory. Numerous science-based, impact-driven projects are conducted within these facilities to strategically protect coral species that are at risk of extinction in the wild, increase coral reproduction rates, advance coral health and restore the Florida Reef Tract.
Long-term care is provided in our living coral archive for 15 species of healthy coral, including species rescued from the Florida Reef Tract. Our cryopreservation lab also houses the world’s largest collection of staghorn coral sperm. The techniques of archiving living, and genetic banking of cryopreserved corals, will be used to build healthy, genetically diverse coral populations into the future.
Coral Spawning Laboratory
In 2019, The Florida Aquarium successfully induced coral spawning in a laboratory setting which resulted in sexually produced offspring that were raised into the juvenile stage! Work continues to induce spawning with additional species and to shift the spawn timing to bring production rates up to a scale that will meet restoration needs.
Coral & Herbivore Nursery
Nurseries are used to raise coral offspring from gametes collected from our spawning lab and from the wild and our living archive during natural spawning cycles. Long-spined sea urchins, important herbivores that keep algae levels in check for corals to grow, are also being cultured in a research laboratory (in partnership with the University of Florida) and raised in the nursery. Successful restoration of the Florida Reef Tract will require a significant and consistent supply of genetically diverse corals to be outplanted in tandem with the release of herbivores.