This is one risque photo… if you’re a coral polyp! “Scientists hope that building what is essentially a sperm bank for the world’s corals will someday help restore damaged reefs. Above, a coral releasing sperm.” (Read the full article here.) Creating test tube coral babies may be one way to repopulate the depleted coral reefs around the world, which are depleting at alarming rates.
Explore.org has projects aimed at research, education and - let’s be honest - beauty, since our coral reefs are one of the most diverse habitats on the planet; nearly one-third of all known marine fish species have been found on a single coral reef alone. Through fishing and tourism, the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the “commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is over $100 million.” Protecting coral reefs is about conservation as well economics.
One program that Explore.org aided recently was the ReefTeach Program at Kahalu‘u Bay in Kona, Hawaii. Kahalu‘u Bay is intensely used as a recreation area due to its ease of access and high coral and fish diversity. The ReefTeach Program aims to educate visitors and residents alike on how to avoid damaging corals and take care of turtles and reef animals. Read more about the program here.