A new method for freezing and storing coral has successfully been trialled in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
It is hoped that the new technology could enable restoration of corals which are affected by climate change. Rising ocean temperatures as a result of climate change can lead to destruction of delicate coral reefs, with the Great Barrier Reef suffering four recent ‘coral bleaching’ events.
Coral has previously been cryopreserved and reintroduced to the wild but is costly due to the equipment and technology required. Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences have recently developed a new method of freezing coral using a ‘cryomesh’ to freeze coral larvae. The mesh technology was developed by the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering and enables the coral to be stored in liquid nitrogen at -196⁰C.
Jonathan Daly of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, which is also collaborating with the research, commented that “This new technology that we’ve got will allow us to do [cryopreservation and storage] at a scale that can actually help to support some of the aquaculture and restoration interventions,”
The use of the new technology could signal a large step forward in coral reef conservation efforts.