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Smithsonian to help create frozen repository for the Great Barrier Reef
Date:5/19/2011

runoff and sedimentation from land, climate change, acidification and destructive fishing practices. Researchers believe that coral reefs and the marine creatures that rely on them may die off within the next 50 to 100 years, causing the first global extinction of a worldwide ecosystem in current history. According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, coral reefs generate up to $30 billion of the global economy each year, with more than $1 billion going to the Australian economy.

"The Great Barrier Reef is iconic and of vast importance in terms of biological diversity and species richness," Hagedorn said. "A frozen repository will help ensure its incredible diversity and prevent future extinctions."

While scientists have successfully used frozen sperm from coral to fertilize fresh coral eggs, their next focus is on developing techniques to use frozen coral embryonic cells to help restore coral populations. This research will play a large role in helping to conserve the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches 1,800 miles along the Queensland coast of Australia and includes the world's largest collection of corals.


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Contact: Lindsay Renick Mayer
202-633-3081
Smithsonian
Source:Eurekalert

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