First coral IVF babies on the Great Barrier Reef have produced next generation, Science News

The first batch of coral IVF babies, which were developed from microscopic larvae and planted on the reef in 2016, has successfully reproduced for the first time, indicating that this novel technology could successfully rehabilitate damaged reefs.

Researchers have revisited 22 huge coral colonies near Heron Island that were formed during the first Coral IVF study on the Great Barrier Reef and found that they have survived a bleaching episode and grown to maturity, which is an encouraging development.

They generated their first batch of coral larvae, or baby corals, during this year’s coral spawning season.

This is the first time a breeding colony on the Great Barrier Reef has been established using this groundbreaking method. 

Anna Marsden, managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, said, ‘We couldn’t be more excited to see that these coral babies have grown from microscopic larvae to the size of dinner plates, having not only survived a bleaching event but are now reproducing themselves, helping to produce larvae that can restore a degraded reef.’

According to news sources, a 2020 study indicated that the Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its corals since 1995, and that a prior year’s investigation discovered that the number of young corals being formed has plummeted drastically due to the death of so many adult corals.

Much of the Great Barrier Reef is more of a dead husk bleached of colour than a vibrant and colourful array of underwater plants providing a habitat for all kinds of marine life.

Hopefully, the coral IVF kids’ success is a step in the right path. 

(With inputs from agencies)