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Project Coral: the story so far

  • Horniman's first predictable coral spawning, Spawning of Acropora valida, September 2013
    Spawning of Acropora valida, September 2013

The Horniman Aquarium became the first institution globally to purposefully reproduce broadcast coral in captivity in 2013. 

Nine corals, transplanted from Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 2015, have spawned nearly 130,000 eggs at the Horniman, resulting in a UK first – the successful in-vitro fertilisation of captive corals.

This video shows the spawning - watch the film or read about what happened.


Our approach

In the purpose built aquarium laboratories at the Horniman, Project Coral uses microprocessor technologies to investigate the influences of the lunar cycle, diurnal changes, seasonal temperature changes, solar irradiation patterns and nutritional input on gamete (egg and sperm) production and release.

Small organisation, big aims

We have made huge progress, especially in light of our small size and limited resources. Project Coral employs a small team and works in collaboration with international partners including the SECORE Foundation (Germany) and S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa (Singapore). Our work will enable us:

  • To assess the impact that climate change is having on the resilience of broadcast corals and their ability to reproduce.
  • To use sexual reproduction to develop viable techniques for the sustainable aquaculture of coral.
  • To develop protocols to reliably spawn broadcast coral in captivity.

Contact our team

We would be delighted to discuss Project Coral or how you can support this unique project. For further information, please contact:

Jamie Craggs,
Aquarium Curator
+44 (0)20 8291 8715 

We Need Your Support

Project Coral depends on the support of our partners and dedicated individuals to carry out this vital work.

With your help, we can expand our studies to develop a Northern latitude reef and Southern Latitudinal reef, allowing the study of a broader spectrum of environmental conditions that play a role in inducing coral reproduction.