A new method and apparatus for coral husbandry called CHARM has been invented with the ambition to grow coral at economies of scale. It does so by combining machine automation with science based methods to create industrious repeatability.
CHARM’s machine vision, robotic end effectors, artificial intelligence, deep learning capabilities, and easy-to-use interface will help manage the vast number of coral polyps and reef species in a nursery of the future.
Each year, a coral polyp will attempt to birth a coral baby. Coral babies can be grown in nurseries and in great quantities. Through sexual reproduction, two different coral species may hybridize, which can bring a positive increase in natural genetic diversity. If they are reared successfully, coral can be selectively bred for higher survival rates in the warmer ocean temperatures of the future. This is very good news!
Corals can also asexually reproduce. Through a surgical process called, micro-fragmentation, a coral colony will rapidly repair its damaged tissue when cut. Coral polyps multiply across the wound, like clones, at an increased rate due to the immediate stress. Another celebration of scientific breakthrough!
However, the tedious human labour and time demanded in tending to the wounds of a freshly fragmented coral, or in nursing coral babies to a physically safe size, is too high. Simply put, there are not enough people to grow enough coral polyps in order restore the world’s reefs at the necessary rates.