Enclosed Coral farms might be the response to our bleaching oceans. Coral reefs are flamboyant, remarkable phenomena, also known as the tropical forest of the oceans, habiting many biomes.
They offer food for both the ecosystem and societies living alongside the shoreline, vacation industry, occupations, and coastline fortification for over 500 million people worldwide.
Let us shed light on what essentially corals are; coral is a sessile marine invertebrate that naturally exists in colonies with many indistinguishable polyps. Sessile means it stays positioned and doesn't move around.
Corals are creatures, not vegetation. Numerous are photosynthetic, but not all. You can categorize corals into several classifications, including small polyp stony, large polyp stony, soft coral, and sea fans.
What The Future Of Indoor Terrestrial Coral Farms Looks Like
Coral Farms For Resilient Reefs
Our sphere has lost the coral ecosystem environment in the past few decades, developing firm coral reefs. Human undertakings such as greenhouse gas emanations are making the oceans and seas warmer. The coral loses their algae in such temperatures, turning them white or "bleached"; they ultimately famish and succumb.
Coral reefs are exceedingly adaptive due to their ancient nature stemming from 500 million years ago. Almost 50% of those corals are extinct. The ones we had now emerged 240 million years ago. Climate change increasing pace has caused a huge variance in the recovery rate of coral reefs in our oceans today.
These reefs take a long time to propagate and mature and may take up to 10 years to recuperate after a solitary bleaching incident. We are expecting these events to recur, pushing the coral reefs beyond recovery.
This is why some establishments and personalities have started coral farming. Organizations like the Great Bahama by Carol Vita are working on restoring the bleached and vanishing coral ridges.
Indoor Terrestrial Coral Farms
Coral farming is a progression of amassing fragments of coral, growing them in carefully-tended nurseries, and transplanting them to restoration locations. When they grow and mature, they overpower and protect the dying corals.
While the primary objective is reef and coral restoration, coral farming can also be a hobby for commercial profits and research purposes.
Two United States environmental entrepreneurs have decided to open the world's first commercial land-based coral farm in the Caribbean. Teicher Sam and Halpem Gator grew up near the coast in the US and connected over their mutual love and passion for the coral reefs; when they were at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
When working in Mauritius, they both witnessed firsthand the mass problem of reef degradation. They paired up to form Coral Vita, a startup whose mission is to revive and restore coral reefs worldwide and aid them in adapting to the inevitable repercussions of climate change.
"Global reef loss is an ecological and socio-economic tragedy. Coral reefs are essential for the survival of a quarter of marine life, and a billion people around the world depend on them for their livelihoods," Teicher told CNN.
They opened the first farm last month in Grand Bahama after acquiring $2 million in investment. The fishermen describe it like going out to fish in an underwater desert, Teicher said.
Coral Vita applies a practice known as micro-fragmentation, which entails extracting coral fragments from the ocean and breaking them into tiny pieces. This allows fragments to grow into clones and stimulates tissue growth at up to 50 times the normal expected rate in land-based nurseries before being planted back into the ocean.
The impending hazard to reefs is climate, according to Teicher. Research published in 2020 Concluded that coral bleaching episodes are five times more common than 40 years ago. By engineering warmer and more acidic growing conditions at its farm, Coral Vita pursues "strengthening coral resilience" and structures the reefs to adapt to global warming, he explains.
Present And Future Trends Of Coral Farming
Some public display aquariums like the Waikiki Aquarium in North America have begun to develop their coral propagation programs through their conservation ethics, which obligates them to educate the public and set an example for displaying corals.
In addition to the Waikiki Aquarium, the Pittsburgh Aqua Zoo, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific also has active coral propagation facilities.
In Europe, the Monaco Aquarium propagates corals for research and stock their displays, and numerous other aquariums in Italy, Portugal, and Germany are also actively propagating corals.
In Japan, Tokyo Sealife Park has begun to propagate live coral from its display and is exploring supplying other aquariums in Japan with coral fragments.
One interesting phenomenon you will find with corals is the fighting when two species begin to encroach on the other's territory. Corals being groups of polyps living in colonies, also fight off other species to protect themselves.
In their competition for dominance, corals produce tiny filaments that they use to attack their enemies. They then digest their rivals, ultimately becoming the dominant coral. It happens in many coral farms forcing the coral farmers to separate the rivaling coral polyps.
Rare And Expensive Corals
As terrestrial coral farming continues getting more popular, so does the market for corals across the world. Some rare corals are fetching some coral farmers tons of money, especially on black markets.
While the interest in terrestrial coral farms grows, so does the interest of the hobbyists in acquiring more corals to increase the size of their farms. At the end of the day, some corals end up being under very high demand with a meager supply rate.
Some examples of some of the world's most expensive corals include the Purple Monster Jawbreaker, which sold for 10,000 USD, and the WWC Bounce, which sold for 6,000 USD in 2015.
Challenges Of Indoor Terrestrial Coral Farming
While coral farming continues to interest more and more hobbyists, it is only fair to understand some of the dangers they may pose and some challenges to keeping coral in your home.
A study showed that when corals feel attacked, they may produce toxins that could cause breathing issues when exposed to your airways.
There is very little known information that points to how coral may respond to different situations. It is easy to kill them altogether when their ecosystem is compromised.
Many experienced hobbyists have reported having gotten sick from their corals at one point or the other.
If you understand the impact of corals on the survival of sea life and the entire ecosystem, why not help by growing coral reefs in your basement. With the recent aquarium technology, you can do so with ease.
The best of these aquariums look like sections of the seafloor spirited away from the ocean: Fish dart above anemones. Coral polyps unfold like cherry blossoms, a very therapeutic aesthetic natural beauty.
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