Coral spawning has been achieved within under controlled conditions in Quintana Roo; corals reproduce naturally once or several times a year
“The recovery and repopulation of coral reefs in the Mexican Caribbean have incalculable value for the marine ecosystem because they protect the coasts against erosion and the onslaught of waves, and serve as habitat for a large number of marine species, including those for human consumption”, highlighted scientists from the Regional Center for Fisheries Aquaculture Research in a statement.
After 10 years of research, scientists from Inapesca in Puerto Morelos managed to spawn corals within their culture systems under controlled conditions, an unprecedented achievement in our country, since it is the first time that the reproduction of corals in captivity has been recorded in Mexico.
Researchers from the Regional Center for Fisheries Aquaculture Research (CRIAP) of the National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Inapesca), an agency that depends on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, reported significant progress in their project “Rescue of emblematic coral species at risk of local extinction for the white syndrome ”in the coastline of Quintana Roo, by achieving the sexual reproduction of corals in controlled environments, a historical event for fisheries and aquaculture science in Mexico.
Given the high mortality rate of various marine species, the Mexican scientists’ achievement restores hope for the recovery and repopulation of coral reefs in the Mexican Caribbean, the Institute reported.
The value of coral reefs for the ecosystem is incalculable because they protect the coasts against erosion and the onslaught of waves, and serve as habitat for a significant number of marine species, including those for human consumption, he said.
He specified that after 10 years of research, the team of scientists from the CRIAP of Inapesca in Puerto Morelos achieved the spawning of these organisms within their culture systems under controlled conditions that simulate the temperature, light, and waves of the sea, an unprecedented achievement in our country since it is the first time that the reproduction of corals of reef-building species in confinement has been reported on Mexican territory.
He underlined that sexual reproduction in captivity is only one part of a broader work program that aims to develop techniques for efficient coral reproduction with different approaches.
Inapesca has advanced in two ways: clonal propagation, in which segments of the corals are cut to form independent colonies, as occurs with some plants, and sexual reproduction, in which assisted fertilization is carried out.
Although the Institute has extensive experience in the reproduction of corals, with the collection of gametes during spawning in the sea and their transfer to the laboratory for fertilization, this process has economic implications and high risks in the transfer of eggs, reasons For which the Inifap in Puerto Morelos bet on the reproduction of corals in captivity to obtain gametes in their own culture systems, under controlled conditions, for their subsequent assisted fertilization in the laboratory.
This project is carried out in collaboration with the Academic Unit of Reef Systems of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (ICMyL-UNAM), through the laboratory of scientist Anastazia Banaszak, who carry out the cryopreservation of gametes of these species, in addition to the collaboration of the Healthy Reefs Initiative (Inicitaiva Arrecifes Sanos).
In collaboration with the Banaszak work team, a specialist in coral reproduction, gametes were also collected from colonies in the sea and they could be mixed with the samples obtained in the CRIAP culture systems, thus achieving greater genetics recombination.
Part of these samples was processed in the ICMyL-UNAM laboratory to carry out the cryopreservation of gametes, embryos, and larvae, and the rest of the sample is used to produce sexual recruits in the culture systems of both institutions. , with which it is intended to obtain coral colonies that in the future can be reintegrated into the natural environment through restoration programs.
The initiative “Rescue of emblematic coral species at risk of local extinction due to white syndrome” seeks to have a genetic bank of living tissue and cryopreserve gametes of each of the species from the Mexican Caribbean, in order to safeguard sexual material that would allow In the future, to be able to sexually reproduce protected colonies and thus ensure a genetic diversity not guaranteed by fragmentation.
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