Long-term effect of coral transplantation: Restoration goals and the choice of species.
Journal of Theoretical Biology 280 (2011) 127–138
As the health of many coral reef ecosystems is declining, coral reef restoration is growing increasingly important. A common method of restoration is transplantation, or the transference of healthy coral to failing reef communities. However, research conducted by Soyuka Muko and Yoh Iwasa provides evidence that in some cases, transplantation can be detrimental to restoration efforts. When fast-growing coral was introduced to a population of Pocillopora, an endangered coral species with limited larvae dispersal, the native Pocillopora population was unable to recover and was replaced by the new coral species over the long-term. Such a result would lower the biodiversity of a community and make it more susceptible to collapse. Muko and Iwasa demonstrate that the benefits of a transplantation can be roughly ensured by assessing available larvae supply from existing adult specimen and by using a mathematical model to calculate an appropriate transplanted-coral density. They suggest that the potential of transplantation should be carefully evaluated case-by-case in order to avoid unwanted results.
This is really an interesting proposal. But obviously this is a short term fix. Cultivating coral reefs artificially only to introduce them to a toxic environment will just lead to an ongoing cycle of essentially sacrificing corals.
Good summary, Barbara! Sounds like a neat study.