We May Need A Sperm Bank To Save The World's Coral

Reefs are in danger. Should we preserve their sperm?

Healthy Coral

Healthy Coral

Healthy coral at the reef.Ken Caldeira

As the outlook for coral reefs gets bleaker, researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute want to setup a storage facility to preserve biological material in case the reefs need to be repopulated in the future.

Like the seed banks and seed vaults around the world, a cautionary storage of extensive supplies of coral "seed" would prevent against extinction in the potential that climate change wipes out the major reefs.

Of course, like any other worst-case-scenario, we should hope we never need to repopulate the reefs. Even then, the bank would have an additional value. Coral have a limited spawning period, so even if there's no massive die-off that requires re-population, a bank would lend samples to researchers year round. That would make it easier for scientists to conduct studies regardless.