SECORE is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, outreach, education, and large scale reef restoration which is unlike most reef restoration projects you may be familiar with. Most restoration programs collect mature colonies, fragment them, let the fragments grow into small colonies (in underwater or topside nurseries), then transplant these colonies onto reef sites in need of restoration.
SECORE, on the other hand, goes out and collects coral gametes during mass broadcast spawning events when thousands of corals simultaneously release their eggs and sperm into the water. The scientists bring these gametes back into labs to fertilize and grow into new coral colonies before transplanting them back into the ocean.
This process is more complicated and intensive than the frag+grow+transplant method, but it boasts a benefit the latter can not: Increased genetic diversity of the restored reef site. Instead of monogenetic clones populating a new site, SECORE’s method produces genetically diverse coral specimens (and species as well), thus creating more natural restored reefs. SECORE’s method is essentially what Mother Nature intends to do on her own … only with scientists giving her a helping hand to help offset the harm people have caused to our oceans.
In SECORE’s labs, they’re also learning the secrets behind corals reproduction, including better ways to get free-swimming coral larvae to settle onto hard substrate (one of the key steps to producing a new coral colony both in the lab and in the wild).
Anyhow, you came here for a cartoon and I gave you a mouthful. Sorry. Without further ado …