News / Company News / New update from our CRF intern (07/29/16)

New update from our CRF intern

New update from our CRF intern
Alex Neufeld - QM Intern at CRF
CRF has begun a couple of new things since the last update.

First, were starting to arrange corals for this year's spawn, which will be happening in mid-August. All of the oldest and healthiest staghorn corals in our nursery are in the process of being moved to our designated spawning area, where the corals hang from smaller trees so that researchers can collect the egg bundles as they are released into the water. The egg bundles can then be cryo-preserved and the researchers can attempt to fuse egg and sperm in-vitro.

CRF has also recently been given permission by NOAA to lead the collection of critically endangered pillar coral colonies for the purposes of genetic preservation. Currently, there are only about 55 known colonies of pillar coral left in the Florida Keys.
One of the pillar corals Alex Neufeld visited on a recent collection trip. Photo by Alex Neufeld.

As you can see from the photo above, the living tissue now only covers a small percentage of what it used to as sedimentation, disease, and algal overgrowth have rapidly chipped away at the colonys margins. Our job is to collect several samples of living tissue from each of these colonies and preserve them in our nurseries so that the species can weather the recent population decline.

Alex Neufeld in one of CRF nurseries. Photo by Alex Neufeld.

Finally, the photo above shows a pretty healthy staghorn coral tree, probably due in part to the relatively cool water temperatures weve experienced so far this summer. August typically brings the hottest water temperatures and some corals will probably still bleach before the summer ends, but we are extremely pleased that this season has been as kind as it has to our corals.