- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Scientists and volunteers have begun planting coral fragments in waters off Key West’s Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, beginning a project to restore large reef-building coral areas and establish a public snorkel park.

A team from the Florida Keys-based Mote Marine Tropical Research Laboratory “outplanted” 200 live coral pieces Monday in 10 to 15 feet of water in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a few hundred feet off Fort Taylor’s beach.

Mote scientists are employing a revolutionary “re-skinning” technique that enables fragments of brain, star and boulder corals to fuse together rapidly to form new coral heads, radically reducing the time required for reef rebuilding.

Project organizers hope to plant more than 5,000 corals by the end of July 2016, creating a coral restoration snorkeling trail off the park’s beach.

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Online: Mote Marine Coral Restoration, https://mote.org/research/program/coral-reef-restoration


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