Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Event Name/Location

Proceedings of 10th International Coral Reef Symposium, Okinawa, Japan

Presentation Date


Document Type



Restoration, Transplantation, Coral of Opportunity, Coral Nursery


Coral reef damage is unfortunately becoming a common occurrence off southeast Florida, U.S.A. Reattachment of the dislodged scleractinian corals usually initiates damage site restoration. Because mortality of dislodged colonies is typically high and natural recovery in southeast Florida is typically slow, transplantation of additional scleractinian corals into a damaged area has been used to accelerate reef recovery. Donor colonies available for transplantation have been grown in situ, grown in laboratories, and taken from nondamaged reef areas. An alternative source of donor colonies for transplantation into damaged sites is “corals of opportunity,” which we define as scleractinian corals that have been detached from the reef through natural processes or unknown events. This paper describes a project, initiated in 2001 in Broward County, Florida, that was developed to collect these dislodged colonies and transplant them to a coral nursery. Coral nurseries are interim locations that function as storage sites for corals of opportunity where they can be cached, stabilized, and allowed to grow, until needed as donor colonies for future restoration activities. This project is a partnership between a local university, county government, and a volunteer dive group. Two hundred and fifty corals of opportunity were collected, transplanted to the coral nurseries, and monitored for survival. Transplanted colony survival was similar to that of naturally attached control colonies and significantly greater than that of corals of opportunity left unattached. Results provide resource managers with information on the utility of using corals of opportunity as a source of transplant donor colonies, and the value of using coral nurseries to create a reserve of corals of opportunity for use in future coral reef restoration activities.


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