Twenty-eight years ago, the world welcomed (albeit with raised eyebrows) the first “test tube baby” into the world. Back then, in vitro fertilization (IVF) was considered a radical medical procedure. But after the success of a few hundred thousand IVF babies, it was only logical to take the concept to the next level. Enter coral reefs.

A team of University of Miami marine-science researchers is collecting coral eggs and sperm all this week during an annual reproductive ritual dubbed “coral spawning.” They hope “test-tube coral babies” will take root to help restore a tract of reef ravaged by a 1984 ship grounding in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

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Brace yourself for an even more radical idea to help coral reefs: not destroying them in the first place.

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