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Florida Coral Farming | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World,
Jonathan visits an underwater farm where they grow coral. Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! Coral reefs are incredibly diverse marine
habitats that are important to the health of tropical ocean ecosystems. Unfortunately, all over the world, coral reefs
are being threatened. Coral is very sensitive to temperature, and
water quality. In some places, the reefs are not looking
very good. In the Florida keys, several species of corals,
particularly staghorn coral, which grows in shallow water, have been hit hard by a combination
of storms, disease and predators. Ken Nedimyer is doing something about it.
Ken is the founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, and he has figured
out how farm staghorn coral. Cameraman Tim and I grab a flight down to
Key Largo to meet Ken and learn how his coral farm works. We meet up with Ken on a sunny spring morning
for a day of checking up on his underwater crops. I give him a hand putting his boat in the
water. Ken takes us less than a mile offshore to
the secret location of his coral farm. Ken: I thought it might be fun to pick up
some corals, kind of show you what we do, pull corals off the trees, tag them, and then
bundle them, kinda the whole routine then we’ll take them out and plant them on the
reef… I thought I was just going to observe, but
clearly Ken has plans to try to get some useful work out of me! In fact, he is always looking
for volunteers to lend a hand. We arrive on site and Ken ties up to his mooring.
Next I get a briefing on what to expect underwater and what I’ll be doing to help. Ken’s weightbelt contains an unusual assortment
of tools for a scuba diver. Ken: In case we see sharks! Next it’s time to suit up and hit the water! The coral farm is only 25 feet deep, and it
doesn’t look like any coral reef I have ever seen. The coral is being grown on structures
that Ken calls coral trees. These grunts are already treating the coral
trees like reefs! Each coral tree has a bunch of small pieces
of staghorn coral hanging off of it like Christmas tree ornaments. Over time, the corals get larger and larger,
until they start to crowd each other. What Ken and I are going to do, is thin out
the large pieces. Ken shows me the technique. Basically, he
is snipping off pieces of coral with a pair of wire cutters. Next, it’s my turn, and it doesn’t feel
right to be breaking coral. This goes against everything I have ever been taught! But Ken
assured me that it was OK for the coral on the farm. But we aren’t going to throw away these
coral cuttings. Next, Ken and I are tying short sections of fishing line on all the
pieces I cut off. Then we start hanging the cuttings on a tree.
Over the next year they will grow as large as the pieces they were cut from! A local trumpetfish comes in to inspect our
work. And a resident grouper hides under one of Ken’s experiments. Finally, We harvest a dozen or so large pieces
of staghorn coral and head back to the boat. That is a very impressive operation. There
is a lot of coral growing down there and it seems really happy to be growing on those
little coral trees. Very neat. Back on the boat, I fill a tub with water. This is the coral that we’re going to transplant. You know you let them grow out, then you cut
them off, and hang more up and let them grow out… Ken: Everything out there started with…all
the coral would have fit in this bucket. Really? Next we move the boat a few hundred yards
to a reef where we will transplant the coral we just harvested. So this is a reef called Snapper ledge, and
there’s a big ledge on it and there’s lots of fish usually. But there’s hardly any staghorn coral. You know a lot of people ask why we roll backwards
off the boat. And the answer is quite simple: because if you roll forwards, you’re still
in the boat. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t think many
people get to do this. I’m going to be part of making a new reef! Down on the bottom, Ken leads me to a barren
section of reef that could definitely use some staghorn coral! He starts by scraping off algae and marine
growth to clear a section for the newly transplanted coral. Next he mixes up a putty-like glob of epoxy
that can cure underwater. Then he presses the staghorn coral into the
epoxy. In a few hours it will be stuck permanently. Now it’s my turn to try the same technique
with the next piece. If I don’t scrape all the way down to bare rock, then the epoxy
won’t stick and the coral will most likely die. Ken and I plant about a dozen pieces of staghorn
together in an area about 4 feet across. It takes about half an hour for the two of us
to plant all the coral we brought down. And when we’re done, the fish are already moving
in to their new habitat. This is a piece of staghorn coral that Ken
planted a year ago. It has already grown over the epoxy and into the reef. It’s doing
well and growing quickly. With our mission complete, we head back to
the boat. Thanks to the work of Ken Nedimyer, we now
know that at least some species of coral can be farmed and used to replant damaged reefs.
While this technique doesn’t address the threats to coral, it does provide a new method
for restoring damaged reefs.

96 Comments

  1. phyragain Author

    That is pretty cool, restoration of the ocean/world is just as important as stopping the damage we do. Two sides, one coin.

    Reply
  2. Shark Slide Author

    The only thing I know seeing the coral were threatened it because some fisherman use bomb or poison to catch the fish but accidently destroyed and it will be ruin the ocean's ecosystem.

    Reply
  3. Wobbegong Author

    I really liked this one.I wonder why those things are not heavily subsidised.
    Soneone somewhere in asia had a similar idea and managed to incease the growing speed of his farm by applying a small electric current to frames he grew the coral on. like galvanisation.

    Reply
  4. Nate Brooks Author

    I always like to epoxy the frags on the long flat side in the center. the ends at the growth tips grow the fastest, and you tend to get a lot more encrusting when you attach in the center. I guess for replanting reefs its not a big deal, but I farm corals to help take stress off of wild collected corals for the aquarium hobby, so I need the fastest growth possible from my corals. I love growing coral, and watching the daily growth. My dream job would be growing corals to help replant the coral reefs, and help eliminate the need for coral collection in the wild, and provide 100% farmed corals for aquariums.

    Reply
  5. Cate Vanzienie Author

    I still don't get why divers jump off the boat backward
    Cuz if I do I think I would just stay upside down cuz of all the heavy things your carying

    Reply
  6. Jay Down Author

    loool the rolling off the boat caught me off guard, killed me. Great video made me feel warm and fuzzy to know there are people like Ken out there

    Reply
  7. sebastian oks Author

    WOW, this is great Jonathan, iv watched many of your episodes and learned so much already and why dosen`t this have more views? , 

    Reply
  8. Richard Balentien Author

    In Curacao's (island; Former Dutch Antilles) Sea Aqaurium they also try farming this staghorn coral. I haven't seen the results im seeing in this video, when i visited Sea Aquarium Curacao. But my main question is, if this coral is in danger and already being farmed. why not introduce it more into the aquarium industry under controlled circumstances. This because from my own experience, fanatic reefers like myself are able to grow sps corals (staghorn like corals) at extreme rates in "our" reef tanks, using all kind of systems like Zeovit , Triton, DSR and not to metion all the high end equipement involved. This resulting in almost monthly fragging due to extreme growth spurts (therefor multiplication of our corals) . there are reefers enough out there i believe that are willing to participate in the multiplication of this beautifull coral. and would be more than proud if the home grown frags would finally end back up in damaged reefs! im shure i would! and if i look at the rate that im growing acroporas, montiporas, pocciloporas ect ect, this must be an easy task! where and when can i sign up?? 

    Reply
  9. avaorchid Author

    I am so happy that they are doing this!  I didn't know whether to smile or cry when I saw the fish all gathered in the makeshift reefs,  It seems like they are desperate for their environment to go back to how it should be.  Thank you CRF for taking steps to help make that happen.  Also, thank you Johnathan for bringing this work to our attention.

    Reply
  10. Mark Johnson Author

    Hey Jonathan I love your videos. What do you know about BIOROCK reef restoration using electrical current to help the coral grow and survive as the climate warms?

    Reply
  11. ARYANTI SH Author

    Lots of people's asked
    Why you roll backward off the boat?he answers" if you roll forward you still in the boat😂😂😂😂 funny joke

    Reply
  12. Truly Infamous Author

    The only coral where I live is the fossilized coral in my fields in Ohio. I think it came from either the glacier that went over this area in the prehistoric past or the fact that sea levels were very high during those millions of years ago.

    Reply
  13. Polly g Author

    well done Ken, proves one person with drive,and a good idea can make a difference, to say im impressed is a huge understatement,the problem must of seemed insurmountable,yet he went forward and has made a difference

    Reply
  14. Sanchayan Kumar Laha Author

    I love marine animal, I want to lead a life just like Jonathan diving the sea & explore beauty of marine life… how can I achieve my dream lifestyle? Plz suggest. I'm B.Sc in Zoology. Waiting 4 rply [email protected]
    I truly want to do this…don't know how…

    Reply
  15. Ceasar Malinao Author

    I loved to watch your videos. Especially your intro words it makes me smile and excite. HI! I'M JONATHAN BIRD'S AND WELCOME TO MY WORLD! 😘
    watching from Philippines. Hope you will visit our country and help me to experience scuba diving.

    Reply
  16. Connor Duncan Author

    Curse the parrot fish for eating all the coral! Actually, I have a question! How do fish get nutrients from eating coral? Can a human eat coral?

    Reply
  17. Widget Author

    Great seeing more ways humans are working to undo some of the damage we've done. Hopefully this won't be the only guy doing it on that side of the country!

    Reply
  18. Sam I am Author

    I was told you roll backwards off a boat when diving with tanks, so the tanks don’t get ripped from your back as they hit the water last..? Bit sarcastic saying if you roll forward you would still be in the boat! Any truth to this..?

    Reply
  19. MC Terry Majid Author

    Oh birdy, oh jonny bird, you fly through the big blue skies and sail upon the seas, you hit the water and dive so deep, like a fish amongst the weeds, a grouper comes in to check you out, to watch as you work, an octopus slides away behind a cloud of ink as sharks gather around

    Reply

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