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The development of an SME-friendly European breeding program for hard corals

More:  Institute 
Acronym: CORALZOO
Period: June 2005 till June 2009
Status: Completed

Institute  Top 
  • Astridplaza NV, more

Abstract:
As a result of an increased public interest in marine life, a growing number of zoos and public aquaria try to display live corals in their marine exhibitions. In contrast to the commercial sector of marine ornamental trade, which is still largely dependent on collections from the wild, it is the policy of zoos and aquaria to display organisms that originate from sustainable inland breeding facilities. The proposed project aims to improve inland breeding and husbandry methodologies for corals, to be applied by zoos, public aquaria and also by the ornamental trade.
There are three specific goals:
  1. To acquire the protocols for sexual and asexual coral breeding in captivity, including breeding and feeding techniques and induction of natural coral colony morphogenesis
  2. To improve coral husbandry by: a. developing generic bioassays to evaluate biotic and abiotic husbandry parameters and to monitor coral health, b. elaborating methods for identification and treatment of coral diseases, c. optimisation of transport and acclimation practices
  3. To train the SME's staff with coral breeding and husbandry protocols and methodologies.

The CORALZOO project is therefore the first comprehensive approach that makes use of molecular biology, mathematical, toxicological and nutritional tools for the development of unique breeding protocol for corals in captivity. This will enable the SMEs to establish large stocks of coral colonies (the asexual approach) that represent a high genetic variability (the sexual approach) and exhibit natural growth forms. The results of the present work will support the whole industrial sector in Europe, will exacerbate European competitiveness, and will facilitate cooperation in research activities between the European SMEs in this sector. Moreover it will strongly contribute to the environmental protection of wild corals: the zoos will become self-supporting and the trade will become sustainable.

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