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Aquarium Participates in Coral Restoration

Staff traveled to Saipan to help and learn more about coral spawning

acropora coral heads just below the surface

Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific

January 31, 2024

This past summer Aquarium Aquarist Jay Harvey and Nate Jaros, senior director of fish and invertebrates, traveled to Saipan to help SECORE (Sexual Coral Reproduction) in their latest efforts in coral restoration. SECORE is a research organization that the Aquarium has partnered with to study coral resiliency. During this visit, Harvey and Jaros assisted SECORE staff in collecting coral gametes (reproductive cells) during spawning events. During these events, corals will release the gametes into the water. The gametes were collected using a special cone-shaped funnel. Once enough was collected, the gametes were mixed and brought to shore to be planted on special tiles to be out planted in the future.

Harvey, who is responsible for the Aquarium’s Coral Restoration exhibit, will be able to apply his new knowledge he gained on coral spawning to his work at the Aquarium. Participating in this effort for the first time, Harvey learned the right conditions for corals to spawn successfully. Coral colonies spawn once a year during a specific lunar cycle when there’s less tidal movement. The coral colonies will broadcast spawn their reproductive material at the same time to increase their chances of success.

“Seeing this firsthand was very exciting and is something that I will use in enhancing our exhibits,” said Harvey.