Test-tube coral: How scientists are saving the Great Barrier Reef

Test-tube coral: How scientists are saving the Great Barrier Reef

Coral sperm is being frozen in a bid to save the UNESCO World Heritage site
Great Barrier Reef
Science has found a humane way to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Warnings that the coral on the Great Barrier Reef may not be able to survive rising sea temperatures has been setting off alarm bells some time now.

Tourism officials and ecological activists have been wondering how long the world’s largest living organism will last.

But a team of scientists has been proactive. They are preserving the coral to mate on another day.

Coral is being taken from the reef and transported to Dubbo Zoo, in western New South Wales, where a coral "sperm" bank is being set up.

The embryonic sperm cells will be frozen until a time when things get bad on the reef.

"It is hoped that we will never need them,” Dr. Madeleine van Oppen, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, told ABC. “But in case we do need to use them then at least they are there.

When that time comes, the team could create new coral.

 “We have the ability to take the sperm and to thaw it out and reanimate it,” Dr. Mary Hagedorn, of the Smithsonian Institute, told ABC. “So it's swimming around and can actually fertilize eggs and create sexually produced coral.”

More on CNNGo: Will the Great Barrier Reef die by 2050?