Atlantis Is Building The Bahamas’ First “Coral Gene Bank”
It’s a growing problem for coral reefs in the Caribbean: stony coral tissue loss disease, which continues to decimate coral populations in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.
More than half of the 45 reef-building coral species in the wider region are susceptible to the disease, including brain, pillar and star corals. Survival rates are extremely low.
But a new initiative aims to create a build and equip a biosecure facility to save the most vulnerable coral species from the disease until they can be safely returned to the reefs.
It’s called the Bahamas Coral Gene Bank, and it will allow marine biologists (and students) to rescue, preserve, study nd grow coral species in a controlled environment.
It’s the product of a partnership between Atlantis, its Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, The Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, the Perry Institute for Marine Science and the University of The Bahamas.
“The Bahamas Coral Gene Bank at Atlantis Paradise Island goes beyond coral rescue—it is about securing the future of Bahamian reefs,” said Michele Liu, Senior Vice President of Atlantis Marine and Water Park Operations and Board Member of Atlantis Blue Project Foundation. “Through this initiative, our goal is to preserve critical marine life and safeguard the livelihood of future generations, which has been the goal of Atlantis Blue Project Foundation since its inception in 2005.”
The Bank will house up to 600 coral colonies of more than 15 species vulnerable to SCTLD; it will be designed for coral propagation, with the aim of producing tens of thousands of offspring annually.
“We have a responsibility to the ecosystems surrounding us, and establishing The Bahamas Coral Gene Bank is our next step in the ongoing effort to protect our reefs and stop Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. The Atlantis team is proud of its commitment to conserving marine life and restoring our oceans. As we celebrate World Ocean Month, we aim to raise greater awareness and education to the local and global community about the critical environmental challenges we face,” said Audrey Oswell, President and Managing Director of Atlantis Paradise Island.