Coral Tree Nursery®
Innovative Growth and Outplanting
Corals can grow and reproduce both sexually, through spawning, and asexually, through fragmentation: if a branch falls off on the reef and conditions are favorable, it can reattach and begin to grow a new colony.
By collecting small branches or fragments from a colony and raising them in offshore nurseries, we can take advantage of this naturally occurring process also known as propagation.
Coral Tree Nursery®
In 2010, we developed the Coral Tree Nursery®: a simple framework of PVC pipe that resembles the shape of a tree. The nursery tree is tethered to the ocean floor and buoyed with a subsurface float. Coral fragments are hung from the branches of the tree using monofilament line.
The tree floats in the water column and is able to move with storm-generated wave surges. This dissipates wave energy preventing damage to the tree structure or the corals themselves,
Corals are grown in the nursery for approximately six to nine months. After they have reached a substantial size, they are tagged and taken to a carefully selected reef restoration site where they are attached directly to the reef using a non-toxic marine epoxy.
Tens of thousands of corals are produced through our pioneering propagation techniques and housed in multiple offshore coral tree nurseries. We currently have 7 offshore coral nurseries in South Florida from Carysfort Reef to Key West.
Visit a Coral Tree Nursery®
Thanks to the Catlin Seaview Survey, and Google Maps’ Underwater Streetview, you can now take a virtual tour around one of our Coral Tree Nurseries. The Catlin Seaview Survey visited our Nursery in 2015 to capture these 360° images.
Guide yourself around the 360° image below and you will be able to see coral fragments growing on the Coral Trees, as well as larger fragments attached to smaller, “hangman” structures, ready for the team to collect gametes during the annual coral spawning.