Grafted or spliced coral varieties have become highly sought after in the marine aquarium trade and to secure ownership of these unique frags carries a heavy price tag.
Following two years of extensive work the team at the Coral Spawning Lab have now produced for the market the first new colour morphed chimera via sexual reproduction in not one but three Acropora species.
Dr Jamie Craggs first stumbled across this phenomenon seven years ago during the preliminary stages of his PhD with Professor Mike Sweet (https://reefbuilders.com/2017/09/05/hornimans-lab-grown-tenuis-acros-are-the-real-limited-edition-corals/). Now, for the past two years the team have been using selective breeding techniques to produce these unique colour morphs.
Dr Craggs said, “We understand how to maximise the production of these through coral genetic selection and our ex situ spawning protocols but the role that both symbiotic symbiodiniaceae and the microbiome play is an area we've actively been working on"
Vince Thomas, who manages the build process of Coral Spawning Lab’s systems, feels that maintaining system stability throughout the season is of fundamental importance in conditioning the broodstock and creating a balanced and harmonious microbiome that underpins coral health. It’s for this reason the team utilise the Triton Method in all of their coral spawning systems as it provides the highest level of control and understanding of water chemistry that directly affects coral health.
Professor Mike Sweet, one of three founding members of the Coral Spawning Lab, said, "These amazing new colours, bred within our labs, highlight the potential of ex situ coral spawning to produce new, interesting and sustainable coral for the aquarium trade. We're viewing this as similar to the horticultural industry, where new flower varieties are produced by nurseries, broadening consumer choice and creating new interest within gardens. We feel this same approach can work with corals for the marine aquarium hobby and are excited to be this first in the world to bring these to market."
The team are now working on new species but these first selectively bred corals are currently growing out and will be available for purchase soon.
Founded in 2020 by Dr Jamie Craggs, Vince Thomas and Professor Mike Sweet the goal of the Coral Spawning Lab is to continue pushing the boundaries of ex situ coral spawning and open up its unique potential to the wider world.