Coral Fragging Peaks Students Interest

One of our host corals in the foreground gives way to ‘Fragging’ and new baby corals are growing into young adults.
One of our host corals in the foreground gives way to ‘Fragging’ and new baby corals are growing into young adults.
Fragging coral is literally cutting stems from the host that are glued to bases then submerged into a nursery-like setting.
Fragging coral is literally cutting stems from the host that are glued to bases then submerged into a nursery-like setting.
With 75 percent of the world’s reefs currently under the threat of damage or death, farming coral is one of several areas that marine biologists are looking to for answers before it’s too late.
With 75 percent of the world’s reefs currently under the threat of damage or death, farming coral is one of several areas that marine biologists are looking to for answers before it’s too late.

Whitman research students in Mr. Feraco’s classes have been diligently working on an exciting new research project.  With a very generous donation from Fishlife Aquariums in South Huntington, our research program was able to construct a coral aquaculture system in the research classroom. Fishlife owner Joe Racioppi, Paul Olsen and manager Chris Sullivan recently instructed students about coral fragging.

“Our 10x4 foot coral aquaculture system is currently being used for a variety of different types of coral restoration and animal behavior studies,” said Mr. Feraco. “Students are exploring optimal conditions for the growth of many different coral species.” With 75 percent of reefs currently under the threat of damage or death, there may not seem like much any one person can do. But students are learning to grow and study the genetics of captive corals, which they hope to sell to aquarium enthusiasts — and possibly one day introduce back into the wild.