Abstract: If one was to try to grow corals in order to build up a damaged reef, what would be the most effective, quick way to do it? Coral reefs are always facing hardships from natural and unnatural destructors, causing the percentage of reefs to diminish. Coral reefs have their own, natural, ways of rebuilding but sometimes, things need to be helped along in order to restore the ecosystem. In order for coral to grow, especially in captivity, there must be proper levels of everything. Whether it be, calcium levels, pH levels, or even salt levels, everything has to be perfect, and if there are any imbalances, it could result in devastation to the captive coral population. The results found from the experiment suggest that corals exposed to zooxanthellae with proper nutrition and chemical levels in the water grew the fastest and healthiest.
Introduction: Ever since I was little, I was fascinated with everything to do with marine life and I can definitely thank my father for introducing me to the complexities of the underwater world. Corals especially catch my attention because they are not only plants, they are thriving creatures with, what seems to be, minds of their own. The fact that each species have their own specific niches such as being able to collect food by themselves, protect themselves with chemicals, and move on their own is just amazing to me. My interest in coral reefs has led me to want to learn more and maybe someday help protect this staple in underwater ecosystems.
My interest in maintaining coral reefs has led me to the question, how does one cultivate corals and/or restore damaged corals in a closed environment to the point of being grown and healthy enough be placed back into the ocean in the fastest amount of time possible? Materials and Methods: Pioneer corals were used in the experiment because when restoring a coral reef, pioneer corals must come first in order to create a basis for the other corals to grow off of. Different aquariums housed the coral, each with different variations of the chemicals needed. There was a constant variable aquarium that contained water most similar to that of the ocean’s and the others had variations such as higher or lower pH levels, added nutrients, and different amounts of sunlight.
Discussion: It was found that one of the important factors of a healthy developing coral is the harboring of a photosynthetic dinoflagellate called zooxanthellae. This develops a lining in the coral’s cells that helps produce much of it’s carbon energy needs.
Jaap. Coral reef restoration. Florida Marine Research Institute and Lithophyte Research. Ecological engineering 15 345-364. Elsevier. 10 March 2000.
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