Smithsonian Scientists Help Create First Frozen Repository for Hawaiian Coral

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WASHINGTON, DC.- Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have created the first frozen bank for Hawaiian corals in an attempt to protect them from extinction and to preserve their diversity in Hawaii. Mary Hagedorn, an adjunct faculty member at HIMB and a research scientist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, leads the laboratory at the HIMB research facilities on Coconut Island in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, that is banking the frozen coral cells. “Because frozen banked cells are viable, the frozen material can be thawed one, 50 or, in theory, even 1,000 years from now to restore a species or population,” said Hagedorn. “In fact, some of the frozen sperm samples have already been thawed and used to fertilize coral eggs to produce developing coral larvae.” Coral reefs are living, dynamic ecosystems that provide invaluable se