Kristen Marhaver: How we're growing baby corals to rebuild reefs
Kristen Marhaver - Coral reef biologist
Kristen Marhaver studies the ecology, behavior and reproductive biology of Caribbean reef corals. Full bio
difficult job you ever did?
for a family or a community?
trying to protect lives and property?
that wasn't guaranteed to succeed,
human health or save a life?
create something, make a work of art?
who do these jobs
and our deepest support.
in our communities
by the plants, the animals
the tropical coral reefs.
and food security
of people around the world.
protect our shorelines
that they house filter the water
on coral reefs are increasingly important
and new cancer drugs.
beautiful things on planet Earth.
of the tourism industry
or little other natural resources.
all of these ecosystem services,
of the world's coral reefs
of dollars per year.
being done for us
we possibly could to destroy that.
with our boats, our fins, our bulldozers,
of the entire sea,
and make each other worse.
a tropical storm went by a few years ago.
a tropical storm had passed.
from overfishing, from pollution,
the dead corals
to kill the corals that were left.
during my PhD --
took off half of its tissue,
and that coral died.
this compounding of factors
as the "slippery slope to slime."
because many of our reefs now
and algae and slime.
to launch into my plea
in a news headline
of a conservation brochure,
have been sounding the alarms
of coral reefs for decades.
no matter how educated,
or where they come from.
about the world's coral reefs
they can barely understand?
what a coral is or where it comes from,
or beautiful it is,
to care about saving them?
and where does it come from?
in a number of different ways,
all of the individuals of a single species
they've made that year
of the ocean and break apart.
at the surface of the ocean,
from other corals.
lots of corals on a coral reef --
meet their match at the surface.
what any other animal egg does:
under the microscope every year
magical moments of the year.
they turn into a swimming larva --
the size of a poppy seed,
systems that we have.
textures, chemicals, pH.
they can hear sound.
for a place to attach
where you would live the rest of your life
they find most suitable,
of building the world's coral reefs.
again and again and again,
of these hardworking animals.
of corals on the planet, maybe 1,000.
and millions of other species,
stabilizes the systems,
our new medicines.
on the island of Curaçao,
that look like this.
and much of our world
in increasing detail
with increasing certainty the causes.
interested in looking backward.
are interested in looking forward
to be optimistic.
written off long ago,
arrive and survive anyway.
that baby corals may have the ability
that the adults couldn't.
to this human planet.
with my colleagues in Curaçao,
what a baby coral needs
through that process.
of the work we've done
and we made coral choice surveys --
where they preferred to settle.
even without the biology involved,
the colors of a healthy reef.
and grooves and holes,
from being trampled
we need to restore those factors --
those hard surfaces --
underwater, like a sea wall or a pier.
and colors and textures
back toward those corals.
and microbial signals
I began culturing bacteria
convince corals to settle and attach.
bacterial strains in our freezer
and attachment process.
are testing those bacteria
more coral settlers in the lab,
will survive better
we also try to uncover the mysteries
and always has been:
this ridiculous shape,
are fat and look fuzzy
as a threatened species
in over 30 years of research surveys,
a baby pillar coral.
if they could still reproduce,
following these at night
figure out when they spawn in Curaçao.
from our colleagues in Florida,
when they spawn in Curaçao
with some eggs in her tissue,
on the right, releasing sperm.
back to the lab, we got it to fertilize
swimming in our lab.
of our scientific aunts and uncles,
we've had in Curaçao
to go through the rest of the process
that anyone ever saw.
if you think baby pandas are cute,
the secrets to this process,
and how we might help them.
to handle their embryos,
to preserve them at low temperatures,
their genetic diversity
the number of hands in the lab
we can drink in any given hour.
of concern as a society.
we have defense technology,
for conservation is behind.
difficult job you ever did.
it was being a parent.
far more amazing and far more difficult
become parents for over 10 years now.
to the core of my soul.
it is for them to become parents.
again two weeks ago,
and brought them back to the lab.
they will explode
the life of this one embryo
methods that went wrong
always suffering from low fertility.
before we can use baby corals
maybe save coral reefs.
hundreds of billions of dollars.
and plants and microbes and fungi.
and food and medicine.
an entire generation of corals.
despite our best efforts,
for the work they did
to raise the coral reefs of the future,
About the speaker:Kristen Marhaver - Coral reef biologist
Kristen Marhaver studies the ecology, behavior and reproductive biology of Caribbean reef corals.
Why you should listen
Kristen Marhaver is a marine biologist studying the ecology, reproduction and juvenile behavior of Caribbean reef corals in order to help restore the signals and factors that corals need to survive. Her work includes the development of new settlement surfaces, bacterial probiotic tools and rearing strategies for juvenile corals, including for threatened species. She also investigates the origins of coral reef biodiversity and the reproductive behavior of understudied species.
Marhaver's research has been covered by over 300 national and international media outlets including NPR and BBC. Her honors include five fellowships and grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, four awards for science communication and a TED Senior Fellowship.
A scuba diver from the age of 15, Marhaver has spent over 1,000 hours underwater. Marhaver earned her Ph.D. in 2010 from the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is currently an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the CARMABI Research Station on the island of Curaçao.
Outside of the lab, Marhaver advocates for smarter science communication and the development of better technologies for ecosystem restoration. Her advocacy work has been featured by outlets such as Wired UK, Google TechTalks, ScienceProgess, Mendeley and the San Francisco Exploratorium.
Kristen Marhaver | Speaker | TED.com