Elkhorn and Staghorn coral nurseries in the Florida Keys are beginning to bear the fruits of their labor. Now that the coral farm founded by Ken Nedimeyer has been in operation for several years, it’s thousands of coral pieces ranging in size from nubbins to colonies are strong evidence that the mariculture project is working. Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis are the only species of Acropora in the Atlantic Ocean and both endemics are federally protected coral species. Both species were once very abundant throughout the Caribbean Sea but successive years of very low reproduction has kept these species from repopulating to offset the widespread die offs of mature colonies. Nedimeyer’s coral nurseries and Coral Restoration Foundation have gone a long way towards giving mother nature a helping hand in bridging the gap between newly settled larvae and robust, stable Acropora colonies. As you can see in the video above, the Acropora nursery is well stocked and already repopulating corals to the reefs that need them. Hopefully Ken’s work in Florida will restore the staghorn coral to massive stands like the one from Curacao in the photo to the left, and elkhorn corals into huge tree sized colonies like the one below growing in Puerto Rico. All that coral farming doesn’t come free but if you want to help the CRF and it’s efforts to return these iconic coral species to prominence on our very own red, white and blue American coral reefs, anyone can sponsor a piece of these endangered coral species with prices starting at $40 a coral nubbin all the way up to $5000 for a small Acropora forest.
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