Checking out the amazing coral growth in the Florida Keys

We had a very short, but totally interesting, trip to Key West this week…while there, we visited Dr. Dave Vaughn and his astonishingly-fast-growing corals at Mote Marine Lab down at Summerland Key. They’ve been able to grow corals in the lab with growth rates many times faster than what we normally find in nature, and it seems the mechanism behind this is something to do with the process of breakage (akin to when we get a cut and it heals much faster than the rate at which the rest of our skin is growing). The PBS News Hour did a short feature on this cool work.

Dave Vaughn showing Elizabeth and Josh (not in picture) how he and his group are growing corals at roughly 25 times their natural growth rates.

Some of the early-stage ‘micro-fragmented’ corals they’re growing in the lab. Ultimately, he hopes to transfer these onto some of the Florida Keys’ struggling coral reefs to help restore them.