Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Florida Coral Farming | JONATHAN BIRD'S BLUE WORLD

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Coming up next on Jonathan Bird's Blue World, Jonathan visits an underwater farm where they

grow coral.

Hi, I'm Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world!

Coral reefs are incredibly diverse marine habitats that are important to the health

of tropical ocean ecosystems.

Unfortunately, all over the world, coral reefs are being threatened.

Coral is very sensitive to temperature, and water quality.

In some places, the reefs are not looking very good.

In the Florida keys, several species of corals, particularly staghorn coral, which grows in

shallow water, have been hit hard by a combination of storms, disease and predators.

Ken Nedimyer is doing something about it. Ken is the founder of the Coral Restoration

Foundation in Key Largo, and he has figured out how farm staghorn coral.

Cameraman Tim and I grab a flight down to Key Largo to meet Ken and learn how his coral

farm works.

We meet up with Ken on a sunny spring morning for a day of checking up on his underwater

crops.

I give him a hand putting his boat in the water.

Ken takes us less than a mile offshore to the secret location of his coral farm.

Ken: I thought it might be fun to pick up some corals, kind of show you what we do,

pull corals off the trees, tag them, and then bundle them, kinda the whole routine then

well take them out and plant them on the reef

I thought I was just going to observe, but clearly Ken has plans to try to get some useful

work out of me! In fact, he is always looking for volunteers to lend a hand.

We arrive on site and Ken ties up to his mooring. Next I get a briefing on what to expect underwater

and what Ill be doing to help.

Kens weightbelt contains an unusual assortment of tools for a scuba diver.

Ken: In case we see sharks!

Next its time to suit up and hit the water!

The coral farm is only 25 feet deep, and it doesnt look like any coral reef I have

ever seen. The coral is being grown on structures that Ken calls coral trees.

These grunts are already treating the coral trees like reefs!

Each coral tree has a bunch of small pieces of staghorn coral hanging off of it like Christmas

tree ornaments.

Over time, the corals get larger and larger, until they start to crowd each other.

What Ken and I are going to do, is thin out the large pieces.

Ken shows me the technique. Basically, he is snipping off pieces of coral with a pair

of wire cutters.

Next, its my turn, and it doesnt feel right to be breaking coral. This goes against

everything I have ever been taught! But Ken assured me that it was OK for the coral on

the farm.

But we arent going to throw away these coral cuttings. Next, Ken and I are tying

short sections of fishing line on all the pieces I cut off.

Then we start hanging the cuttings on a tree. Over the next year they will grow as large

as the pieces they were cut from!

A local trumpetfish comes in to inspect our work. And a resident grouper hides under one

of Kens experiments.

Finally, We harvest a dozen or so large pieces of staghorn coral and head back to the boat.

That is a very impressive operation. There is a lot of coral growing down there and it

seems really happy to be growing on those little coral trees. Very neat.

Back on the boat, I fill a tub with water.

This is the coral that were going to transplant.

You know you let them grow out, then you cut them off, and hang more up and let them grow

out

Ken: Everything out there started withall the coral would have fit in this bucket.

Really?

Next we move the boat a few hundred yards to a reef where we will transplant the coral

we just harvested.

So this is a reef called Snapper ledge, and theres a big ledge on it and theres

lots of fish usually.

But theres hardly any staghorn coral.

You know a lot of people ask why we roll backwards off the boat. And the answer is quite simple:

because if you roll forwards, youre still in the boat.

Its pretty amazing. I don't think many people get to do this. Im going to be part

of making a new reef!

Down on the bottom, Ken leads me to a barren section of reef that could definitely use

some staghorn coral!

He starts by scraping off algae and marine growth to clear a section for the newly transplanted

coral.

Next he mixes up a putty-like glob of epoxy that can cure underwater.

Then he presses the staghorn coral into the epoxy. In a few hours it will be stuck permanently.

Now its my turn to try the same technique with the next piece. If I dont scrape all

the way down to bare rock, then the epoxy wont stick and the coral will most likely

die.

Ken and I plant about a dozen pieces of staghorn together in an area about 4 feet across. It

takes about half an hour for the two of us to plant all the coral we brought down. And

when were done, the fish are already moving in to their new habitat.

This is a piece of staghorn coral that Ken planted a year ago. It has already grown over

the epoxy and into the reef. Its doing well and growing quickly.

With our mission complete, we head back to the boat.

Thanks to the work of Ken Nedimyer, we now know that at least some species of coral can

be farmed and used to replant damaged reefs. While this technique doesnt address the

threats to coral, it does provide a new method for restoring damaged reefs.

The Description of Florida Coral Farming | JONATHAN BIRD'S BLUE WORLD