Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Coral reefs are some of the oldest and most fundamental ecosystems on the planet.

  • 25% of all marine life, at some point, lives on a coral reef.

  • They are essential to life on earth.

  • But, there is not a single coral reef that is not under threat.

  • Our goal is to save the biodiversity and genetic diversity of coral reefs around the world.

  • We are the fertility clinic of the ocean.

  • My name is Mary Hagedorn.

  • I'm a senior research scientist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

  • We are on Coconut Island.

  • Which is in the middle of Kane'ohe Bay, on the island of Oahu.

  • It is one of the most beautiful and important coral research centers in the world, because we are surrounded by coral reefs.

  • Coral is the most magnificent animal on earth.

  • I want all of our children, and our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, to see coral reefs, in just the splendor that they are today.

  • The biggest threat to coral reefs is climate change.

  • Like many organisms, ourselves included, we have a range that we can live comfortably in.

  • Coral have the same issues.

  • So, when the coral reaches two degrees above its normal range, it will often bleach.

  • When coral go through this very stressful bleaching event, it's like us going through a major medical event, like a heart attack.

  • At some point in the relatively near future we may have bleaching events almost every year.

  • And, if that happens, reproduction will stop, and the coral will no longer be able to adapt to changing conditions in the oceans.

  • It will be a devastating event.

  • What we do in our laboratory is we are working on saving coral biodiversity and genetic diversity.

  • And, we use cryopreservation to freeze sperm, fertilized eggs, and also small coral fragments.

  • We had to invent the processes and the tools to cryopreserve them.

  • It gives you the power to reseed the oceans in the future.

  • Collecting coral sperm is very difficult.

  • It is one of the most reproductively restricted animals on earth.

  • Some species do it for two nights a year, for 40 minutes each night.

  • People think of the giant panda as being restricted, but they actual have more time for reproduction than a coral reef does.

  • It's really amazing to see coral spawn, because it's like this inverted blizzard.

  • There's just eggs, and sperm, and fish, and it's very, very lively.

  • It's like being at this wild rock concert underwater.

  • It's really an incredible experience.

  • There's a couple ways we can collect sperm.

  • If they're endangered species we have to actually put a net over them.

  • And then, the egg sperm bundles rise in the net and we collect them in a small tube.

  • It's been very, very challenging.

  • And we're a very small group, but we've managed to conserve over 30 species in our banks worldwide.

  • Ready?

  • - Yes. - 'Kay.

  • One of the really important aspects of having a bank is that it be in a secure location.

  • We have a very small bank here.

  • We hold things here and then we move them to a much more secure place, which is the USDA Animal Germplasm Repository in Fort Collins, Colorado.

  • Once Mary has collected and frozen the samples in Hawaii, they are shipped here for long-term storage.

  • We have the world's largest collection of genetic resources in terms of animals, plants, and microbes.

  • This is a very secure facility.

  • It was specially constructed to withstand forces of tornadoes, floods.

  • We have the ability to operate independent of the power grid.

  • The samples that we have are incredibly important.

  • It offers us the opportunity to reestablish populations that may disappear.

  • One of our recent successes was to use frozen coral to create new types of coral.

  • We call it assisted evolution.

  • And, now these babies are growing in Florida.

  • There're many times when you just go, I can't believe we did this.

  • It's a miracle, honestly it's a miracle when things come back to life.

  • It is critical that we do this work now because our biodiversity is shrinking very fast.

  • Coral reefs are the most beautiful ecosystem on our planet.

  • And, we cannnot lose it, it's just not, not on my watch, we cannot lose them.

Coral reefs are some of the oldest and most fundamental ecosystems on the planet.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 US GreatBigStory coral sperm biodiversity reef genetic

Racing to Save Dying Coral Reefs

  • 10194 432
    April Lu posted on 2019/05/05
Video vocabulary