starcoral Hawaiian Coral Can be Safely Thawed in 1,000 Years!

Great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa)

Researchers from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University and the Smithsonian have brought the first frozen Hawaiian coral bank into existence to try and prevent them from becoming extinct and to preserve their diverse population in Hawaii.

A faculty member over at the HIMB, and also a respected scientist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Mary Hagedorn, is leading the lab at the HIMB research facilities on Coconut Island in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, which is storing the frozen cells of the coral.

“Because frozen banked cells are viable, the frozen material can be thawed one, 50 or, in theory, even 1,000 years from now to restore a species or population,” explains Hagedorn. “In fact, some of the frozen sperm samples have already been thawed and used to fertilize coral eggs to produce developing coral larvae.”

Many people tend to forget that Coral reefs are living, dynamic ecosystems which afford precious services: They are the home to many offspring for marine animals and other invertebrates; they give natural protection from storms on the coasts; they take carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere; and they even might be sources for future medical wonders.

So, is it any wonder that it would be a good idea to keep them alive? By freezing them, we are saving them, and can keep them alive for up to 1,000 years. Think of all the wonderful things will be accomplished, by simply saving the coral.. Imagine if we had the same initiative when it came to everything?