The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world and a unique natural treasure. The World Heritage status of the Reef recognises its great diversity of species and habitats. Conserving the Reef's biodiversity is not just desirable - it is essential. By protecting biodiversity, we are protecting our future and our children's future.
The combined skills of Taronga, the Australian Institute for Marine Science and the Smithsonian Institution are being applied to the prioritisation of coral species for preservation, collection of priority species’ gametes and fragments and cryopreservation using techniques established for Caribbean coral and novel techniques developed on-site.
As part of this project, the world’s first coral genome resource bank has been established at our Wildlife Reproductive Centre based at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. This will allow for large samples of a gene pool to be maintained, preventing species extinction and maintaining genetic diversity within an ecosystem through the use of thawed samples to ‘seed’ shrinking populations. Taronga is providing cryobiology and marine ecology expertise.
Taronga contact is Dr Rebecca Spindler, Manager, Research and Conservation.