Marine Laboratory: Micro-fragmenting coral reef restoration

An approach to rejuvenating endangered coral reefs

The Problem

We have lost 25-40% of the world’s corals in the last two decades due in large part to rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. The year 2015 saw the worst Great Barrier Reef destruction ever with 35% of the reef dead or in serious danger, according to the ARC Centre for Coral Reef Studies. Emerging data from 2016 is even more dire. Only about one-third of the Earth's oxygen comes from land-based plants; the rest comes from the ocean.

The Solution

Dr. David Vaughan has developed a game-changing technique called “microfragmenting." Microfragmenting manipulates the surface area of a coral on a two dimensional plane in a laboratory. The process allows corals to grow more than 25 times faster than their normal rate. Once the reefs have grown sufficiently in size, Dr. Vaughn’s team then transplants and installs the corals in the targeted reef. If this technology grows to scale, it could rapidly restore the dwindling population of healthy coral reefs.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Shared Nation would fund Mote: Marine Laboratory and & Aquarium, which funds Dr. David Vaughan's research.

This project was nominated by: