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By John Walch With a pair of needle nose pliers firmly gripped in my right hand, I set my jaw and squinted my eyes. Beads of perspiration pierced the skin on my forehead and upper lip. Excitement and fear warred within me. Gently cradled in my left hand just below the surface of the warm saltwater was the brave coral colony. The fear of who will feel the pain more, the coral or me was winning the battle within my mind. The year was 1994 when I first experienced the adrenalin rush of fragmenting a coral. This asexual method of coral propagation has now become commonplace technology to “hands on aquarist”. Almost every reef aquarium in the USA is now aquascaped with cultured hard and soft corals. An accomplishment the marine aquarium hobby should be proud of! Now skills I learned as a marine aquarist are adding a new dimension to coral reef restoration. Large-scale coral propagation and transplanting restoration projects can be done economically and safely. Applied science and with the assistance of the Reef Ball Foundation Coral Reef Restoration Division’s volunteer team the largest coral transplanted artificial reef to date was constructed on Maiden Island, Antigua. These same skills are now restoring the tsunami-damaged reefs in SE Asia.


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