Live Banks

While the main focus of Dr. Hagedorn’s laboratory work is the cryopreservation or frozen banking of coral genetic material, we also work on the creation of live coral repositories through collaboration with SECORE. Having both live and frozen coral repositories serves to better ensure the survival of coral species around the world.

From 2006 to 2009 the Reef Recovery team participated in SECORE Workshops in Puerto Rico, helping to develop techniques for raising coral larvae from fertilization to settlement. Aquarists from zoos and aquaria around the world joined us for these workshops and were able to take coral larvae back to their institutions for live conservation.

A juvenile elkhorn coral, raised during a SECORE workshop in Puerto Rico, has successfully settled on a tile at the National Zoo. Photo by M. Henley.

In 2010, the Reef Recovery team was preparing to travel to Belize to host a SECORE spawning event there during the late August full moon; however, due to changes in ocean temperatures and factors beyond our control, the endangered staghorn coral that we planned to work on there spawned a month early and our trip had to be cancelled.

In 2011, with the full moon falling more towards the middle of August, our hopes are high for our trip to Belize. Several SECORE-trained aquarists will be joining us as we collect both live and frozen samples from the Staghorn coral there. The location in Belize may be one of the last places on Earth that this endangered reef-building coral is spawning, so getting there this year is very important.

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