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Reef Recovery 2016

For the sixth year running Taronga Western Plains Zoo has played a pivotal role in the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef storing coral sperm samples in the frozen zoo in Dubbo.

In late 2016, Reproductive Biologist, Rebecca Hobbs travelled to North Queensland to work with a number of other institutions at the annual coral spawning event, which occurs during November/December under a full moon. During the spawn, sperm samples were collected from 60 individual coral colonies over eight nights.

In total there were 643 tubes of coral sperm samples from this year’s collection. The collected coral samples were frozen (or cryo-preserved) and then transported from the Great Barrier Reef over 1700kms to Dubbo.

The coral samples collected could one day help restore and potentially reseed the reef if required in the future.

From the collection the team added nine species of coral to the frozen zoo, four of which were new species to be added to the stored samples.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo now holds samples from 11 species of coral from the Great Barrier Reef. This is the largest collection of frozen coral gametes on the planet!

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