In an effort to help save the world’s coral reefs scientists have reproduced coral using in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) for the first time in the United Kingdom.
Gravid corals (already carrying eggs) were extracted by divers from the Great Barrier Reef and flown to London last year. They were then maintained in an artificial reef at the Horniman Museum allowing them to spawn. The scientists then carried out eight cross-fertilisations in order to create thousands of coral “babies” which can now be used by the museum and other institutions to learn more about reproduction and the early life stages of coral.
Jamie Craggs, aquarium curator at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, said: "We've seen captive corals spawn before at the Horniman, but this is the first time we've been able to successfully cross-fertilise them. This proves the techniques and equipment used in our lab are working, and is a key step forward for Project Coral."