Florida and Havana Aquariums United by Mating Coral

Source: Miami Herald/Paul Guzzo, The Tampa Bay Times - January 10, 2017 in Environment

Florida and Havana Aquariums United by Mating Coral
Photo: NOAA

Tampa – The Florida Aquarium’s joint research with the National Aquarium of Cuba on coral reef restoration ended on a scientific high in 2016.

Heading into 2017, the Tampa- and Havana-based facilities look to build upon this relationship — the first ever between aquariums from the longtime enemy nations — by designing a coral greenhouse and building a coral nursery, both to be located in Cuba.

This past August — one year after the partnership began — scientists from the aquariums met in Key Largo to collect Staghorn coral spawn to be used for their ongoing research on replenishing the region’s dying reefs.

Among the goals was to learn if cryogenically frozen Staghorn coral semen — when thawed — can still fertilize an egg to allow the aquariums to use banked coral sperm to repopulate the Caribbean.

In mid-December, it was thawed and swam.

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