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Scientists fertilising Acropora eggs

The 2013 Great Barrier Reef coral spawn is off to a racing start!

Last night the first species of coral started sending out egg and sperm bundles to kick off the only reproductive event that can be seen from space.

Taronga scientists Dr Rebecca Spindler and Dr Rebecca Hobbs have joined collaborators Dr Mary Hagedorn and Virginia Carter from the Smithsonian Institution at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville.

AIMS has just built a fantastic new facility called the SeaSim - a unique, integrated, highly controlled building that acts like an ecosystem itself. SeaSim emulates the environmental conditions of the ocean to grow, protect and learn about our Great Barrier Reef corals.

For the first time our coral bank, established two years ago at AIMS, will come back to life.

We have thawed sperm that was frozen last year to compare with fresh sperm. This sperm was great and fertilised 20,000 eggs that will continue to develop in the specialised facilities at SeaSim.

The experts here and the amazing facilities will nurture these embryos to adults in their unique nursery over the coming months and years.

- Dr Rebecca Spindler

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