The 2013 Florida Coral Spawning Project, sponsored by the Florida Aquarium and the Coral Restoration Foundation, is having great success this year experiencing a huge coral spawn of critically endangered Staghorn Coral (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmata)   with over 250,000 coral ‘babies’ currently swimming and developing in the onsite lab.

The project brings biologists from Mystic Aquarium, The Florida Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences, SeaWorld Orlando, Disney’s Living Seas, Akron Zoo, and Coral Restoration Foundation together to monitor parent (sexually mature) colonies on Molasses Reef (off of Tavernier, FL), the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery site, and the parents that were pulled from CRF’s coral site and placed in the lab for when they spawn or release gamete bundles.  Each gamete bundle consists of the eggs and sperm from that genotype of coral. Our goal is to mix different genotypes to cross fertilize, and encouraging larvae to settle onto a substrate. When the corals mature, they can be returned to the reefs in Florida to continue to grow and be monitored.

High resolution photos are below. Click on the photo to open a high resolution version, and then right click to download image. For an easily browsable version of this page please click here.
There is also linkable video of swimming Acropora cervicornis larvae and Acropora palmata below the photos.
Any problems or questions please contact Richard Ross at rross@calacademy.org.

Acropora cervicornis larvae swimming:

Acropora palmata larvae swimming:

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