Three scientists from Cuba were in town last week for some further discussion of the coral greenhouse that would be built in Cuba to house coral from around the Caribbean to save them from dying off.

Design concepts

Scientists from the Havana National Aquarium were in Florida from Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 to discuss the concept of the greenhouse with members from the Florida Aquarium in Tampa that would be built in Havana, Cuba. The greenhouse will become the ark that would contain all species of coral located in the Caribbean and would be used to help with replanting and saving the Coral Reefs from bleaching or pollution.

So far there has been no talk of cost or a timeline of when the building would start.

Greenhouse success

The Florida Aquarium has a successful greenhouse in Apollo Beach, Florida where it delivers salt water that comes directly from the ocean to help the coral grow and produce buds that the aquarium replants off the Floridian coast. The coral greenhouse in Cuba will draw in salt water from the ocean to help with the pollination and collection of the coral found throughout the tropic regions.

The greenhouse in Apollo Beach costs $420,000 to build and set up for the Florida Aquarium. Instead of glass for the greenhouse, Cuba's scientists at the National Aquarium in Havana want to use translucent canopies for the coral to obtain sunlight.

The structure would be built out of concrete and would house tanks and collection pipes to collect water from the Gulf of Mexico rather than deliver salt water like the Apollo Beach greenhouse. The Florida Aquarium will help with some of the funding for the greenhouse project in Cuba.

"This is a three year plan," said Margo McKnight to the Tampa Bay Times.

McKnight is the vice president of biological operations at the Florida Aquarium, "By then we hope to have them designed, funded, and built." While McKnight also said that Cuba can build most of the greenhouse structure, the technology and life support systems they want to use would be provided by the Florida Aquarium.

Since 1970, more than half of the coral in the Caribbean have died off according to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. But hopefully this partnership can not only help protect Cuba's coral reefs, but help save those reefs off of Florida's coast that have shown rapid decline.