The nursery trees, which are constructed out of PVC, fiberglass rods, and marine epoxy, are attached to the sea floor with moorings and suspended in mid-water with subsurface floats.
The coral nurseries are stocked with coral fragments from multiple genotypes of Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis). The coral fragments are “hung,” or attached, to the trees using monofilament and metal crimps. We stock the trees with either “fragments of opportunity,” loose coral fragments that have broken off Elkhorn or Staghorn colonies, or from end-tip clippings of less than 10% of the coral tissue of a healthy colony.
Each tree has one single genotype of corals attached to preserve genetic diversity. This is very important for monitoring and to determine the resilience of different genotypes to create healthy thickets of closely grouped corals that can more readily sexually reproduce through successful spawning.