CORAL REEFS ARE DYING, WE CAN ONLY PREVENT IT IF WE ACT NOW

Coral reefs are dying, we can only prevent it if we act now

Makoto Omori

Akajima Marine Science Laboratory, Zamamison, Okinawa, 901-3311, JAPAN

Abstract

This paper begins with a brief overview of the status of coral reefs of Japan and around the world, followed by a review concerning present research on coral reef rehabilitation at Akajima Marine Science Laboratory in Okinawa, Japan. With respect to the latter, effort has been aimed at developing techniques for the mass culture of Acropora spp. from eggs. Colonies of Acropora tenuis that were reared from eggs and transplanted to the seabed at Akajima began spawning by approximately 20-25 cm in diameter at 4 or 5 years of age. Many fish and crustaceans have inhabited the newly transplanted coral colonies. This demonstrated the possibilities of culturing using sexual propagation as a technique to assist local coral reef rehabilitation and hence, conservation of marine biodiversity. It is humbling and somewhat depressing to compare the small scale of success relative to the wide range of degradation. However, the present method of coral reef rehabilitation has shown enough promise for us to continue with this effort.

Keywords: Coral reef, rehabilitation, zooxanthella, Okinawa, spawning, cultivation