This project aims to assist the asexual and sexual propagation of coral species affected by the stony coral tissue loss disease in the ECA, by increasing reef-building coral biomass available for restoration and producing corals with high genetic diversity that are better adapted to local and global stressors. we proposed to use asexual and sexual reproduction techniques to propagate colonies/genotypes of reef-building coral species impacted by the disease, Montastraea cavernosa, Orbicella faveolata, Pseudodiploria clivosa, P. strigosa, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Siderastrea siderea, and Colpophyllia natans, from the ECA which resisted the disease, and to rear them until they reach a size suitable for outplanting. Combined, these techniques will allow managers to preserve and increase the genetic diversity of these species, and more rapidly produce a greater quantity of mature-size reef-building corals to outplant. To do so, we will continue to induce gonad maturation and spawning of corals in captivity, collect gametes of colonies in the land-based nursery, assist gamete fertilization, rear larvae, settle them and rear juveniles, and propagate corals through microfragmentation. Corals will be grown in the land-based and offshore nurseries. These activities will preserve the most resilient genotypes of the most disease-impacted reef-building corals, from the ECA, propagate them to facilitate population recovery in future restoration projects. The outcomes of this project will provide an extensive number of colonies of the most resilient corals in the region and preserve their genetic information in ex situ tanks.
January 30, 2023 - 4:29pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.