Coral IVF to help restore The Great Barrier Reef

An Australian marine biologist has developed a type of IVF for coral to help restore and repair coral reefs around the world.

Southern Cross University Professor, Peter Harrison, has studied the intricacies of coral reproduction for more than 30 years and his new program kick starts coral reproduction.

There’ll be no need for candlelit dinners or long walks along the beach in this process, only tanks full of coral larvae.


Coral struggles at natural reproduction due to their environment; when coral spawns naturally, clouds of sperm and eggs float around the ocean at the mercy of mother nature.

In the case where sperm and the eggs do manage to link up, their larvae often drift away from the reef, due to underwater currents, and die.

Very few of the coral reach breeding age and Professor Harrison’s found a way to blast larvae onto damaged areas on the reef.

In a world-first study, his team has been able to grow millions of coral larvae in tanks and deliver them to damaged coral reefs in the Philippines.

“There’s a potential for larvae restoration to be used on a large scale to try and reverse the decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier reef,” he said.

“This would need significant investment and time to make it effective on the large scale.”

Professor Harrison’s experiments on the Philippines damaged reef began after he was backed by the Australian Centre of International Agricultural Research.