Biodiversity / Food / Water

February 22, 2013


Japanese Research Institute Develops Coral Restoration Technology

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity University / Research institute 

JFS/Japanese Research Institute Develops Coral Restoration Technology
Photo courtesy of Fisheries Research Agency

The Fisheries Research Agency in Japan announced on November 1, 2012, that it has developed an improved method for restoring reef coral population. With this new method, coral juveniles just after settlement survived at more than 10 times in the field than that had reported so far.

In recent decades, an increasing number of coral communities around the world have been declined due to environmental stresses such as coral bleaching by the loss of algal symbionts, which result in a decrease of reef fish . The situation calls for urgent restoration and regeneration of the coral reefs. To date, transplanting coral fragments and seeding coral larvae had been challenged for improving this situation, however, both approaches were difficult to realize large scale restoration due to low survival rates of the corals.

To enhance the initial survival rate of coral juvenile, the Fisheries Research Agency developed an artificial settlement plate with grid structure. This new device improved larval seeding method by controlling the settlement density of coral larvae and arranging the plate structure in terms of the grid size. The experiment was started from early summer in 2011, and demonstrated that the coral juveniles directly seeded underwater on the plates can survived with highest rate (18.1% on average) at 15 months later among the conventional cases (less than 1%).

Their results suggest that the new method of stock enhancement in reef corals may make it possible to restore coral communities with low costs. The Agency expects this finding will greatly contribute to the restoration of coral reefs that damaged by local anthropogenic impact.

Related JFS article:
New Technology Helping Restore Coral Reefs in Okinawa's Sekisei Lagoon
Coral Reef Restoration Efforts Underway in Waters off Ishigaki Island