The world's firstLiving Coral BiobankA groundbreaking project to preserve coral biodiversity
Taking action today to save the world’s corals for tomorrow.
Great Barrier Reef Legacy is working with Traditional Owners, industry and corporate partners, research collaborators, government organisations and tourism operators, to establish the world's first Living Coral Biobank. It will preserve the genetic biodiversity of hard coral species by collecting and maintaining living samples of some 800 species. The techniques and equipment to carry this out are well established and take advantage of corals’ natural ability to survive indefinitely under the correct conditions. Most importantly this project is achievable now.
The Living Coral Biobank forms part of an international response to preserve coral biodiversity and GBR Legacy is part of a global initiative working together for the long-term survival of the world’s corals. The Biobank is already recognised as a key method available now to save the biodiversity of corals by an international collaboration of researchers - the Global Restoration and Preservation Consortium.
The Living Coral Biobank complements existing practical efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and reduce regional pressures on coral reefs from land-based and water-based activities. It complements and value-adds to global research and restoration efforts, including activities to rehabilitate habitats and help corals to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.
Critically, it recognises that the positive effects of work to reduce pressures on coral reefs will take time – from years at best, to decades. And every year we risk losing more species. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. The Living Coral Biobank will be a source of live coral fragments, tissue samples and genetic material for research, restoration and recovery efforts vital to securing the future of coral reefs and the environmental, economic, social, and cultural benefits they provide.
The Living Coral Biobank will act as an insurance policy for coral biodiversity until such time as the conditions for their survival in the natural system improves.
The time to act is now
A Three Stage Approach
Stage 1: Concept
  • Seed funding secured
  • Business case prepared demonstrating clear need (this document)
  • Founding partnerships established with:
    • Traditional Owners
    • Research Institutes
    • Industry experts
    • Local government
    • Local businesses
  • Conducted "Search for Biodiversity" expedition to select collection sites
  • Approximately $4.8 million of in-kind contributions secured including:
    • Granting of land for the Living Coral Biobank Multi-Function Facility ($2.4 million value)
    • Creation of Living Coral Biobank Multi-Function Facility concept drawings and engineering
Complete ✓
Stage 2: Beginning
  • Collect and store 50% Great Barrier Reef hard coral species (approx. 200 species) in initial Living Coral Biobank facility and visitor centre
  • Appoint Project Manager and Facility Operations Manager
  • Build awareness and grow support for project through education and engagement
  • Strengthen and expand partnerships and networks to include public and private aquariums as Living Coral Biobank hubs for maintaining backup fragments
  • Co-host first international symposium in Port Douglas on banking live coral fragments and genetic material
  • Prepare detailed 5 year business plan
  • Secure funding for Stage 3
Stage 3: Completion
  • Build Living Coral Biobank Multi-Function Centre
  • Collect and store 100% Great Barrier Reef hard coral species (approx. 400 species)
  • Collect and store remaining hard coral species (approx. 400 species) from around the world
  • Activate Living Coral Biobank hubs and create largest collaborative network of live corals in the world
  • Build on existing partnerships and continue to explore opportunities to advance coral reef research, conservation, restoration and management and deliver enhanced benefits to communities.

A Great Barrier Reef Legacy Project

Great Barrier Reef Legacy is a not-for-profit organisation created to address the urgent need to secure the long-term survival of the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs world-wide. Built on over 35 years of expedition, tourism and research experience, we deliver groundbreaking projects, innovative science, education and public engagement to accelerate actions vital to the preservation of coral reef. Through public, private and corporate funding, Great Barrier Reef Legacy brings together the best scientific minds, talented educators and inspired multimedia specialists to create positive and lasting outcomes for our environment.