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Outplanting Coral

Once nursery corals reach an appropriate size, they are "out-planted" onto coral reefs in need of coral restoration. “Appropriate sizes” of outplants depend a lot on the coral species and the goals for restoration. For example, quicker growing species, such as Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) can be outplanted as smaller pieces placed colony to one another. This takes advantage of both these species’ fast growth and their biological adaptation that pieces from the same original coral will fuse together their tissue begins to touch. This creates a much greater surface area of coral than what would happen naturally on the reef in the same amount of time. Slower growing species, such as the bouldering and mounding coral, can be outplated in larger pieces. Outplanting larger pieces is a great opportunity to re-introduce coral species that have reached or are close to sexual maturity onto reefs in which they were previously found. Their larger size also helps against total colony loss from predation (potentially from a curious parrotfish!) Outplanting is achieved on SCUBA by attaching the fragments to the reef using cement or underwater epoxy.

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