It’s no secret that coral reefs are hurting around the world. 

But, a recent breakthrough in Florida could potentially save the third largest reef in the world, also known as America’s Great Barrier Reef.  

For the first time in world history, Florida Aquarium has successfully reproduced ridged cactus coral in human care.

So why is this a big deal?

Well, this particular species has been ravaged by a disease outbreak that started in 2014. This breakthrough is part of “Project Coral,” a project aimed at coral regrowth following the disease outbreak.

“The whole purpose of this project is to rescue corals and start a land-based breeding program for them so that we can restock the reefs in the future,” Keri O’Neil, a senior coral scientist at the aquarium, said. 

Their efforts at reproducing cactus corals had been fruitless; until a few weeks ago. 

Before this discovery, there was basically no information about how ridged cactus coral reproduced. 

No photos, videos, or published studies were ever done on the species’ reproductive biology until scientists at the aquarium successfully reproduced them while catching the “birth” on video.

“This advance gives us hope that the round-the-clock work we are doing will make a difference to help conserve this species and save these animals from extinction,” O’Neil said.

A much needed bright spot in the future of our coral reefs.