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Mayfield, A. B., Mayfield AB, Tsai, S., Tsai S, Lin, C., & Lin C. (2019). The Coral Hospital. Biopreserv Biobank, .
Abstract: Herein we propose an ambitious confrontation of the current coral reef crisis through the establishment of a "Coral Hospital." In an analogous manner to a human hospital, "sick" corals will first be diagnosed either in situ or in the hospital's diagnostic "clinic" such that the root cause of illness can be discerned (e.g., disease, high temperatures, or pollutant stress). Then, corals will be "treated" (when necessary) and allowed to "convalesce" in precisely controlled coral husbandry facilities. Upon "rehabilitation," the recovered corals will be returned to their home reef (if this reef was not found to have degraded), or, alternatively, to a site featuring oceanographic conditions favoring a high level of health, as determined by husbandry experiments performed in other hospital "wards." When possible, diagnostic data from the sick corals (i.e., the underlying cause of sickness) will be used to guide environmental remediation schemes aimed at promoting coral resilience in the ocean. If the home reef improves to an appreciable extent during the time the corals are "hospitalized," these corals could be replanted there upon rehabilitation. Regardless of the site of outplanting, recuperated corals will be monitored over time to validate the "quality of care" in the hospital. In the event that the home reefs suffer to such an extent that environmental mitigation is no longer possible, coral gametes will be collected and cryopreserved such that they may be fertilized, reared in officinarum, and later reseeded once/if global marine conditions again permit coral survival.