Investing in the future of reefs

Cryogenically Frozen Coral investing in the future of reefs
By Maureen Halsema
Just as seed banks have been developed to protect the future of food, the Global coral repository will collect biopsies of various coral species to protect our oceans’ future.
The Haereticus Environmental Laboratory is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving environmental restoration efforts through research. Scientists have developed a technology that enables coral propagation from near-microscopic tissue biopsies. These samples can be cultured and grown into adult coral in a process that can spawn millions of offspring from a single sample of genetic material.
Along with the propagation technology, scientists at Haereticus have also developed methods of cryogenically freezing coral samples, preserving them in a living and reproductively viable state. A series of international repositories will store the samples, ensuring the more than 5 000 known coral species are protected. The first repository is at the HaereticusLab in Virginia in the USA and the next is at Oxford University and has been operational since 2012. The hope is that more repositories will be developed around the world in the near future. The collection process is projected to take about 40 years.
Not only do these repositories provide an opportunity to preserve Earth’scoral species, they also allow researchers to investigate the factors contributing to coral decline and to learn how to conserve existing coral populations, propagate archived species and restore impacted reefs. In addition, the repositories create a global inventory of coral species and a forensic database for use in cases where coral is transported across international boundaries. “Therepositories will maintain a DNA fingerprint of every coral species as well as a geographic identity for each specimen,” said Craig Downs, executive director of the Global Coral Repository. “Using DNA fingerprinting technology and specimen
analysis, we should be able to determine a specimen’s origin, aiding in the law enforcement efforts of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and other regulations.”
To be eligible for deposit, the samples must come from healthy coralcolonies which divers can help identify. According to Downs, each region will have a list of visual characteristics divers can use to confirm reef health including coral coverage, species diversity and coral recruitment. “Divers can provide photo documentation and GPS co-ordinates of a candidate ‘healthy’reef, which will significantly contribute to the ultimate goals of the Global Coral Repository.” The collection effort will begin in the Florida Keys.
For more information, visit


 2018 (49)
 2016 (119)
After anaesthesia Air Quality Altitude sickness Annual renewal Apnea Arthroscopic surgery Bag valve mask Bandaids Barbell back squat Bench press Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Boyle\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Breath hold Breath-hold Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CO2 Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer Cape Town Dive Festival Carbon dioxide Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care Cold Conservation Contaminants Corals DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCI DCS DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive accidents Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive safety Dive staff Diveleaders Divers Alert Diving career Diving emergencies Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dr Rob Schneider EAP Ear pressure Ears injuries Emergency plans Environmental impact Equipment care Exercise Eye injuries FAQ Fatigue First Aid Equipment First Aid kits Fish Fitness Francois Burman Free diving Freediver Gas laws Gastric bypass Gordon Hiles HELP Health practitioner High temperatures Hot Hypothermia Indian Ocean Inert gas Instructors International travel Irritation Kids scubadiver Labour laws Legislation Leukemis Liability Risks Maintenance Medical Q Medical questionaire Medical statement Middle ear pressure Military front press Mycobacterium marinum Nitrox Non-rebreather Mask Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean pollution Orbital implants Oronasal mask Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deicit Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Part 3 Plastic Pool Diving Radio communications Rashes Report incidents Rescue training Resume diving SABS 019 Safety Save our seas Science Scuba Injury Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Sodwana Bay Squeezes Supplemental oxygen Surgeries Surgery The truth Thermal Notions Tides Travel tips Tweezers Underwater photographer Underwater pho Valsalva manoeuvers Vasvagal Syncope White balance Winter Wreck dive Youth diver abrasion air-cushioned alert diver altitude antibiotics antiseptics bandages bent-over barbell rows breathing air checklist child clearances closed circuit scuba currents dead lift decongestants dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child diver rescue dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits dry mucous membranes dry ear spaces electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment equalizing exposure injuries flexible tubing health hospital humidity immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN marine pathogens medical procedures medical risk assesment mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre outgas pain plasters post dive preserve rebreather mask rebreathers risk areas saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections strength tecnical diver thermal protection training trimix unified standards warmers water quality