A group of scientists and volunteers in Key West is taking steps to revitalize local coral reefs.
Key West’s Mote Marine Lab is heading up an effort to re-seed coral beds just off the coast of Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. David Vaughan is managing the reef restoration project and he says it starts small but grows quickly.
“We break them into pieces about the size of a pencil eraser or a small pea,” Vaughan says, “but that stimulates them to grow to about the size of a golf ball in about just three or four months.”
The group then plants those chunks of coral in sets of five just beyond the breakwater—they’re working with brain, star and boulder corals. Vaughan says with this method the coral can grow as much in a year or two as it might in fifteen naturally. The group plans another twenty seeding trips in July.