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Thailand Scientists Performing ‘Coral IVF’ in Attempt to Protect Reefs

Scientists in Thailand are performing “coral IVF” in an attempt to protect reefs from rising sea temperatures.

The planet has lost around half of its coral reef cover since the 1950s.

Experts warn that without intervention – climate change, pollution, and human activity, will mean almost all of the remaining coral reefs could disappear in less than 30 years.

At Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, marine biologists have been growing coral which is seemingly more resistant to higher sea temperatures.

“Right now, climate change is killing the coral in this region, particularly in the upper gulf of Thailand.

“So what we’re trying to do is to restore the coral by collecting coral eggs and sperm and then fertilising it.

“Then we raise them until they’re two years old, and during the two years we try to make them adapt to the rising temperatures,” explains Dr Suchana Chavanich, a marine biology professor at Chulalongkorn University’s Reef Biology Research Group.

Growing more species that are heat-resistant involves, what the professor terms “coral IVF”.

During the spawning season at the start of the year, coral polyps simultaneously release sperm and egg bundles.

In Thailand, the exact date is hard to confirm so to ensure they don’t miss it the scientists dive every night for three months accompanied by Thai Navy SEALs.

In the dark water, using a big mesh bag contraption, they collect the sperm and eggs before separating them in the lab so they can control the fertilisation conditions.

“My job is to collect eggs and sperm underwater in the night. It’s difficult to see and working at night means there are many things we need to be cautious about such as visibility and underwater dangers that we can’t see,” says Thai Navy SEAL commander, Rear Admiral Supachai Tanasansakorn. …

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Chula produces able graduates who become quality citizens for society.

Prof. Bundhit Eua-arporn President of Chulalongkorn University