Dr. Mary Hagedorn is a reproductive physiologist with the Smithsonian Institution, and she is building a sperm bank for corals, which has been gathered from reefs located in Australia, Hawaii and the Caribbean.
According to New York Times
, Dr. Hagedorn says that she has around one trillion coral sperm, which she believes is enough to fertilize around 500 million to one billion eggs. There is also a possibility that they may be able to grow into adult corals.
According to UPI
, corals are able to reproduce asexually. However Hagedorn says that only sexual reproduction is able to protect genetic diversity within the populations. This is very crucial for coral species' capacity to adapt to changes in their environment.
According to Honolulu Civil Beat
, Hagedorn has already preserved a total of six coral species, two from Australia, two from Hawaii and two from the Caribbean.
Hagedorn and her assistants work quickly to capture the sperm and eggs once the coral does spawn. The team will then freeze them. Hagedorn has repeated this process many times.
Hagedorn has already worked with almost a hundred scientists from all over the world and she is training others how to use the technology that she uses to help her with her experiments.
Hagedorn, 57, has said that her work is really for the future and she is probably not going to be able to see the outcome of her work. She said that she hopes that by training scientists now and in the future they will be able to repopulate reefs, even hundreds of years from now.