Divers have planted 1,600 staghorn corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to mark World Oceans Day.
About 70 staff and volunteers from Key Largo's Coral Restoration Foundation sowed corals Monday at six Upper Keys reefs during an event dubbed Plantapalooza. It was the foundation's most prolific single-day output.
Coral fragments grow in a designated nursery about three miles off the Keys. The infant corals, about three inches long, are hung on a framework of PVC pipe resembling a tree to develop.
After nine months, the staghorns typically reach the size of a dinner plate and are transported to offshore reefs where they are affixed to the sea floor with epoxy.
Since its inception in 2000, CRF has planted more than 31,500 corals on Keys reefs.