The application of sexual coral recruits for the sustainable management of ex situ populations in public aquariums to promote coral reef conservation — SECORE Project



  • 1.SECORE (SExual COral REproduction) Project is an initiative of public aquariums and research institutions to produce and exchange sexual coral recruits for the sustainable management of ex situ populations. Here we present the results of the initial three years (2002–2004).
  • 2.Primary polyps (n=501) of corals (Acropora tenuis, Agaricia humilis, Favia fragum) were transported from Rotterdam Zoo to Cologne, Burgers', Hagenbeck and London Zoos, where development of juveniles was monitored for 10 months. All polyps were produced at Rotterdam Zoo from laboratory colonies (A. humilis, F. fragum), and from larvae generated from field collected gametes at Akajima, Okinawa, Japan (A. tenuis). Additionally, planulae of A. tenuis (n=1440) were transported from Rotterdam Zoo to Burgers' Zoo and to London Zoo to obtain primary polyps.
  • 3.Larval settlement (A. tenuis) was observed to be 3.00 ± 2.57% (mean ± SD; n=1480) in 2002 and 17.36 ± 6.01% (mean ± SD; n=1480) in 2003, significantly lower compared to settlement at Rotterdam Zoo (57.84 ± 11.01% in 2003; mean ± SD, n=1480). High post-transport survival rates of 95.18 ± 4.86% (mean ± SD; n=501) were observed in primary polyps of all species.
  • 4.Juvenile survival (t=10 months; A. tenuis: 18.4–86.2%; A. humilis: 0–19.7%; F. fragum: 13.3–72.7%) differed significantly between institutions. Mean colony sizes (measured 10 months after transportation) were, in all cases, similar or higher to those reported from literature.
  • 5.The results demonstrate the potential of this method to serve as an economical and sustainable alternative to existing mostly exploitative techniques for aquarium stocking. The use of sexual recruits provides an effective and low cost alternative, which is, in principle, applicable to all coral species.
  • 6.The project was extended from 9 to 28 institutions across Europe, the USA and Japan in 2004.

Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.