Creating stocks of young colonies from brooding coral larvae, amenable to active reef restoration

B. Linden, B. Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coral reefs are declining worldwide, even though traditional reef practices continuously underlie reef protection. This calls for exploration and integration of novel restoration techniques and tools, such as the "gardening" concept. The gardening approach, which has been successfully applied in various reef sites worldwide, is based on farming coral stocks in mid-water nurseries. To date, the farming of asexually produced coral material has chiefly been studied. Here, we test the performance of a novel spat-stocking tool for planulae of Stylophora pistillata, a brooding coral species. Two prototypes of a new settlement apparatus and one original apparatus made of Petri dishes lined with preconditioned transparency (Mailer's paper) disks had been stocked with >3730 planulae. After 96h, only 95.3% of >2080 settlers were found on the Mailer paper provided. One-month-old survivors (80.8% of initial settlements) that were kept ex situ in a flow through seawater table were detached from the papers, "transglued" onto plastic pins, and transferred to mid-water coral nursery, where the trays were covered with fitted plastic nets (1cm2 mesh) to prevent predation and detachment. Four months later, more than 89% survivorship was documented, with colonies starting to form 3D structures. We estimate that 676 person-hours would be required to create 10,000 5-month-old genotypes of equal size to small branch fragments. This novel methodology allows farming of large quantities of colonies originating from sexually produced planulae and may enhance local populations' genetic variability within a short period. This method is inexpensive and easy to perform in remote places for incorporation in coral reef management practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the INCO-DEV project (REEFRES, no. 510657 ), CORALZOO , an EC Collective Research project (no. 012547 ), the AID-CDR program (no C23-004 ) and by a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Infrastructure and by the partnership of NAF-IOLR with JNF-USA. The research fulfils part of the requirements for the doctoral degree by B. Linden at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Netherlands. We thank R.P.M. Bak, K.O. Amar, G.J.J. Linden, A. Linden van Ruiten, A. Lazarus, O. Polak, D. Gada, G. Paz, and our reviewers for their invaluable advice, support, and assistance. [ST]


  • Brooder
  • Coral gardening
  • Coral reef restoration
  • Eilat
  • Planulae
  • Sexual recruits
  • Spat
  • Stylophora pistillata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating stocks of young colonies from brooding coral larvae, amenable to active reef restoration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this