By CALEB JONES
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources is growing coral in a nursery in hopes of creating a stock of healthy coral to replenish damaged or unhealthy reefs around the state.
In a statement Thursday, DLNR officials say the Coral Restoration Nursery located on Sand Island will grow transplantable coral in about a year, a fraction of the time it would take to grow the organisms in nature.
State biologist David Gulko says most restoration nurseries around the world are developed in natural settings that excel at raising naturally fast-growing species.
But the species found in Hawaii are among the slowest growing in the world. Therefore, the nursery in Hawaii must take local coral, raise it in optimal conditions in the lab as fast as possible, then transplant where needed.