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Project Coral world first gives new hope to save Florida’s reefs

Congratulations to Project Coral partner The Florida Aquarium which has become the first organisation to induce spawning of endangered Atlantic pillar coral.

Scientists believe the historic breakthrough – using techniques developed at the Horniman Museum and Gardens – could ultimately help save corals in the Florida Reef Tract from extinction. 

  • Project Coral Full spawn, Full spawn, The Florida Aqaurium
    Full spawn, The Florida Aqaurium

The Florida Aquarium, based in Tampa, joined forces with the Horniman in late 2017, and has been using Project Coral’s protocols at its state-of-the-art Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach, to replicate conditions on the Florida Reef Tract.

Senior Coral Scientist at The Florida Aquarium, Keri O’Neil, says:

The massive and fully synchronized spawning, which occurred exactly at the predicted wild spawning time, indicated perfect aquatic conditions for pillar corals in our Project Coral system. When you have great husbandry, great water quality, and all of the right environmental cues, this is what you can do, you can change the game for coral restoration.

The Florida Aquarium is planning to raise the juvenile corals long enough to give them a better chance of survival than they would have had as larvae in the ocean, and use them to  repopulate coral reefs along the Florida Reef Tract.

Jamie Craggs, Project Coral lead researcher and Aquarium Curator at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says:

This a fantastic breakthrough for Caribbean coral restoration by The Florida Aquarium and I’m proud to see Project Coral techniques having real world impacts.


Find out more about Project Coral and the exciting work being done to save coral reefs.