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Coral Cryopreservation Training Course

  • An underwater photo of a large elkhorn coral with branches that resemble the antlers of an alk

Welcome to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's training course on how to cryopreserve coral sperm. This virtual training workshop was put together to help professionals around the world cryopreserve the coral sperm from their own reefs. This is intended to be an introduction and a primer on how to get started.

Many professionals who have previous experience may find the training modules completely self-explanatory. However, others may need help. Please do not hesitate to contact either Mary Hagedorn, Ph.D,  (hagedornm@si.edu) or Claire Lager (lagerc@si.edu) if you need additional assistance.

Before you begin the cryopreservation process, you must have the liquid nitrogen storage to maintain these important genetic resources. Therefore, make prior plans to have long-term storage in a cryo-repository to hold your cryopreserved coral samples. If properly stored, these samples can survive for tens of years.

Once you have successfully cryopreserved and thawed your samples, Hagedorn and her team would love to hear more about your samples and species of interest, so they can be added to the global list of cryopreserved coral. Best of luck!

An underwater photo of a large, elkhorn coral surrounded by smaller corals in shallow waters off the coast of Curacao

Introduction

This module introduces coral sperm cryopreservation. The lessons include an overview of the online training and why sperm cryopreservation is needed for coral conservation. It also introduces the people behind the process and some basic concepts of cryobiology.

Open Training

blue-hued chromoproteins in Hawaiian blue rice coral may make it more resilient to UV rays and climate change

Planning Ahead

This module introduces some of the considerations that should be addressed before undertaking coral sperm cryopreservation. The lessons include an overview of the protocol, instructions on key equipment and reagents needed for the process, and an introduction to permitting requirements.

Open Training

An underwater photo of a large, colorful elkhorn coral with many branches that resemble the antlers of an elk. Other large corals can be seen in the background.

Sample Collection

This module introduces some of the complexities involved in collecting coral gametes for cryopreservation. The lessons include an overview of coral spawning and timing, instructions and tips for collecting coral gametes, and procedures for assessing sample quality.

Open Training

An underwater photo of a bustling coral full of various colorful species of coral and fish

Freezing Process

This module introduces the steps involved in coral sperm cryopreservation. The lessons include instructions on preparing samples, as well as freezing, thawing, and assessing sample quality after cryopreservation.

Open Training