Backstage Pass: Coral reefs kept safe at Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2’s Zoopalooza has already introduced you to a few of the Nashville Zoo’s land-dwelling creatures, but did you know they are also home to corals?

“We have 35 total specimens, and we have 12 different species”, said Daniel Brandt, Lead Life Support Technician at the Nashville Zoo.

The corals live in the HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center. The specimens are kept at the zoo to stay safe from Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, which was discovered just off the coast of Miami in 2014.

“Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease is a disease that is affecting stony corals, reef-building stony corals, throughout the Caribbean and parts of the Western Atlantic,” said Brandt. “What happens is the outer margins of the coral begin to retract and within a matter of weeks or months, the polyp essentially shrinks and dies.”

The Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease devastation has major impacts on the total ecosystem. According to Brandt, “Reefs play an important part of biologically because they are a nursery ground for hundreds of thousands of species of fish and invertebrates and other marine creatures as well.”

Corals also act as an important barrier to erosion along beaches in Florida. The goal of having these coral specimens at the Nashville Zoo is to keep them alive and healthy until a treatment is found for Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.

While the coral reefs are a great addition to the Nashville Zoo, you can’t view them with general admission. If you want to see them in person, then you’ll need to get a backstage pass.

News 2 has partnered with Nashville Zoo to bring you weekly segments of Zoopalooza. You can watch them on News 2 on Good Morning Nashville on Saturday and right here on WKRN.com.

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