a large blue basin with a see through side holds many corals. A person stands over the basic holding a coral. At the end of the basin is a colelction of pipeline leading out of the basin, into a round tub, lower down.

Upscaling coral aquaculture for reef restoration

This project is exploring technological and methodological options to automate, and upscale, the sexual propagation of corals in an aquaculture setting.

Andrea Severati describes the autospawner in the National Sea Simulator

This 2022 Great Barrier Reef spring coral spawning season, lead investigators Dr Mikaela Nordborg and Andrea Severati will test new coral aquaculture- and coral health monitoring systems. These may hold the key to upscaling the number of corals produced in a single spawning event for reef restoration, making the process of sexual propagation of corals logistically and financially feasible.  

For the first time, a fully automated coral gamete harvesting and fertilisation system (aka, the “AutoSpawner”) will be tested, with the capacity to automatically detect spawning of broodstock corals and producing up to 5 million coral larvae in a single night. Additionally, several systems for automatically monitoring the health and growth of young corals during ex situ rearing will be trialled, in collaboration with experts from the Queensland University of Technology. 


Dr Mikaela Nordborg (AIMS)

Andrea Severati (AIMS)

Dr Andrew Negri (AIMS) 

Dr Muhammad Abdul Wahab (AIMS) 

Dr Andrew Heyward (AIMS) 

Dr Dorian Tsai (QUT) 

Karen Jackel (QUT) 

Riki Lamont (QUT)

This research is supported by:

The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program, funded by the partnership between the Australian Government's Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.