The SECORE (SExual COral REproduction) project is a collaboration between many research and aquarium institutes to protect and restore coral reefs around the world.
The Deep has been involved since 2006 participating in fieldwork in Puerto Rico (2006), Puerto Rico (2007), Belize (2012), Guam (2013) and Curaçao (2014). Research stations were set up to collect coral spawn, fertilise egg bundles and settle the coral larvae which then grow on to become colonies.
January 2016 marked a breakthrough in Coral breeding techniques. In 2011, offspring from the critically endangered Elkhorn Coral were reared from gametes collected in the field and then out planted to the reef one year later in 2012. In only 4 years they have grown to the size of a football and reproduced simultaneously with their natural population. This event marks the first ever successful rearing of a threatened Caribbean coral species to reproductive age.
The Deep continues to support and participate in the SECORE programmes working with the Smithsonian Institute to further develop cryopreservation of the egg and sperm bundles to perfect techniques for rearing coral spawn and has completed the build on a brand new Coral Research Facility, based right here in Hull. This new development will provide a valuable resource not only to our in-house scientists but also to university students wishing to undertake research on Coral cultivation, feeding and reproduction.