Experimental stress trials are conducted at the Oklahoma Aquarium on a minimum of four coral species with 15 independent samples to determine which variables stress the corals and if there is a correlation with fluorescence emission. We study the effects of rising water temperature, increased irradiance, salinity and pH, and levels of nitrates and phosphates that are outside of the normal range for coral.
Following that assessment, water in coral tanks will be cultured with Symbiodinium to measure the speed and quantity of uptake of symbiotic algae. Using data gathered from this battery of experiments, we hope to identify hardier species and combinations of corals and Symbiodinium. These can be used to “seed” ocean coral using aquaria grown coral.