Billions of coral sperm cells were banked in Taronga’s CryoReserve facilities during the annual coral spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef late last year.

The Reef has suffered greatly again from mass coral bleaching for the second consecutive year, highlighting the critical value in Taronga’s efforts to protect genetic diversity of the precious reef and restore local areas of dead or damaged reef by propagating key coral species.

Taronga’s team of research biologists, together with our colleagues at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), collected coral sperm, eggs, and other cell tissues from a record 60 individual coral colonies over eight nights.

A total of 643 cryotubes of coral sperm were frozen, containing a billion sperm cells each and four new species.

The frozen coral collection is available for scientists to learn more about the biology of corals, coral genetics and for use in assisted reproduction; to repair, reinstate, or create new reefs in the future.

The Taronga CryoReserve at Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, now has the largest collection of frozen coral cells anywhere in the world.

Taronga Science has a 3-tiered donor program that offers some fantastic and unique opportunities such as science field trips, annual passes to Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoo, behind the scenes tours as well as invitations to briefing evenings and more.

For more information, or to learn about specific science projects for which we are still seeking funding, contact Francesca Hynes on 9978 4668/0419 266 595 or at fhynes@zoo.nsw.gov.au.

Or support our work by making a donation by clicking the link here, at any level you choose.

Source: Taronga Zoo