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Jump-starting reproduction of an endangered species

Narrator:       This is Science Today. There's some matchmaking going on at the University of California, Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory. Gary Cherr, director of the lab, explains that scientists there have achieved the first successful captive spawning of white abalone, which in 2001 became the first marine invertebrate to be listed as an endangered species.

Cherr:             The fact that now there's only a few thousand that are known to be in the wild and they're too far apart from one another to reproduce successfully, that really they will in fact go extinct within perhaps 10 and 15 years if we don't have some sort of program for placing them back out into the wild and trying to restore some of these populations. Once we do that, they can start reproducing naturally and hopefully we can essentially jumpstart this so eventually they'll spread and we won't have to be putting them out in the wild anymore; but if we don't do this, I think all of the population models suggest that they will be completely extinct within 10 to 15 years.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.