Coral Outplanting Methods 

Coral Outplanting and Maintenance

Corals are grown in our nurseries for approximately six to nine months. After they have reached a substantial size, they are tagged and taken to a reef restoration site where they are attached directly to the reef using an non-toxic marine epoxy. Maintenance and monitoring of reef restoration sites continues years after the original coral outplanting.

Coral colonies are routinely checked for disease, predation, tissue paling, and other deteriorating factors. Our staff and volunteers reattach broken fragments to the substrate, where they will grow into new coral colonies. Without reattachment, the broken fragments would most likely be unable to attach to the reef substrate on their own and would not survive.

Promoting Genetic Diversity

We tag and track each coral as it comes into the nursery, and re-tag it before it leaves. At the reef, a tag is placed next to the coral with information that identifies the genetic information and specific site data needed to track its progress.

Corals of varying genotypes are strategically placed onto the reef to promote genetic diversity and increase reproductive success during annual spawning events. Sign up for our newsletter to get up-to-date news during spawning season!

World’s First Nursery-Raised Elkhorn

We made history with the first ever nursery-raised elkhorn restoration in July of 2012. Eighteen first-generation elkhorn corals were sponsored to be outplanted on Molasses Reef off of Key Largo.

The newly attached corals were tagged and have been monitored closely since then for growth and survivorship. Over the past few years, Coral Restoration Foundation has outplanted thousands of elkhorn corals across the Florida Reef Tract.