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To Help Preserve the Great Barrier Reef, These Researchers Are Collecting Its Sperm Cells

Illustration for article titled To Help Preserve the Great Barrier Reef, These Researchers Are Collecting Its Sperm Cells

The Great Barrier Reef is 1,800 miles long and home to a quarter of the world's ocean species. So it's no wonder that marine biologists, fearing its pollution-driven demise, started freezing corals so they can preserve them for later.

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That's right. They're freezing coral sperm and embryonic cells and storing them in a frozen repository. (Does the GBR get paid for sperm donations?) Researchers believe they can make these cells get it on—even 1,000 years from now—in other ecosystems, thereby restoring and repopulating currently endangered coral habitats:

Done properly over time, samples of frozen material can be reared and placed back into ecosystems to infuse new genes into natural populations.

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And what's causing this marine mayhem? Researches from the Smithsonian and others believe it's because of "increasing acidity of the ocean and the warming temperatures." Now, why would that be? [Smithsonian via Tree Hugger; Image credit: Sarah_Ackerman/FlickrCC]

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DISCUSSION

Sperm samples from coral? Well, I wish you good luck, gonna need it.