Research Highlights | Published:

Conservation: Reef repair

Nature volume 459, page 12 (07 May 2009) | Download Citation

Subjects

Image: S. MCMURRAY, UNIV. NORTH CAROLINA, WILMINGTON

Some large marine sponges, such as the barrel sponge Xestospongia muta, can live for hundreds of years. But when dislodged from the reefs they inhabit by storms, ship groundings or fishing lines, these organisms have little chance of reattaching naturally. Steven McMurray and Joseph Pawlik of the University of North Carolina in Wilmington have stumbled across a new method of reattaching them that could be useful in conservation efforts.

The duo skewered sponges with two perpendicular steel rods, then secured the rods to bases made from PVC piping, concrete and mesh that had been nailed to the reef's limestone bed (pictured). The method, designed for temporary experiments, surprised the researchers by helping half of the 40 transplanted sponges to reattach, despite three passing hurricanes. The apparatus was removed once attachment was complete.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/459012e

Authors

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing