Closing the life cycle to open new horizons...
UCA believes in minimising the impact we have on the natural environment that sustains our industry and which brings great joy to aquarists worldwide. To do this we established, followed and promoted best practice in sustainable harvest of wild stock we source under license in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We established a research division dedicated to closing the life cycle of our most popular aquarium species and working towards replacing wild harvest with aquaculture.
This long term commitment requires developing a detailed understanding of the biology of Australia’s premium aquarium coral species, ‘closing their life cycle’ in captivity, and propagating them to saleable size. This investment will benefit everyone! It reduces pressure on wild stocks, allows us to select, research and understand what drives the unique colour morphs that makes Australian LPS / SPS corals so popular while providing superior, tank hardened, sustainably sourced stock for the coral loving public.
Sex, Corals & Aquaria
Compared with the surface of the land our understanding of the seafloor is closer to that of the moon! One of the wonderful aspects of the aquarium hobby is the opportunity to observe marine life close up for extended periods of time. At Ultra Coral Australia we are looking very closely at the sex life of corals! Read on...
Coral Biology 101
Many corals reproduce both sexually and asexually. In the images below (a - f) we see the Micro Lord (Micromussa lordhowensis) in cross section (a) showing packets of eggs and sperm that have developed in spring leading to summer; (b) the same packets rolled together as an egg / sperm bundle and being released, (in synchrony with all other colonies of that species) to a lunar queue; (c) the planula larva that develops after fertilisation and travels in the plankton; (d) the settled larvae on coralline algae (a favourite substrate); (e) the developing juvenile coral metamorphoses into it’s polyp form then lays down the basis of it’s skeletal structure, and; (f) with the skeleton established the corals more familiar polyp form becomes apparent. Continued growth leads to the cloning of more polyps. Once the life cycle of a species is closed in captivity the work of understanding what makes it ‘happy’ and 'grow fast’ begins ????
Diving into the mystery of corals
Aussie LPS and SPS corals are recognised the world over for their vibrant and sometimes bizarre colour patterns. A major objective of our research division is understand how to spawn and grow the best of the best Aussie Premium corals and bring them to market in all their tank hardened glory!
Golden Torch (Euphyllia glabrescens)
Here we see the lifecycle of the classic Aussie inshore coral Golden Torch (Euphyllia glabrescens). Our broodstock provide us with new recruits to grow out every summer [in our] dedicated facility. We believe captive-bred corals are the future of our industry - better for the reef, and better for aquarists.
Student Intern from University of Colorado-Boulder, USA