New documentary on our restoration project in Mexico
In 2015, we started this pilot project together with several national and international partners under the lead on-site of Dr. Anastazia Banaszak, head of the Integrative Reef Conservation Research Laboratory, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). Together with the National Park Authorities (CONANP), the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Xcaret Eco Park, we test our newly developed techniques to use sexually derived coral recruits for restoration ('sexual coral restoration'), sowing them out on the reef and monitoring the development of the growing coral babies.
In Mexico, we focus mainly on one coral species, Acropora palmata, the elkhorn coral―once the main reef builder in shallow waters. Our effort is imbedded in the Global Coral Restoration Project, which focuses on developing and implementing large-scale restoration techniques.
Why do we need coral restoration in Mexico? On the Caribbean side of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Mesoamerican Reef stretches almost 700 miles along the coast, protecting it from frequent tropical storms, giving shelter to a wide diversity of animals and providing an income for local communities; not only obtained by fishing practices, but also because it serves as an attraction for the many tourists that come to Yucatan every year.
Yet today, reef-building coral species such as elkhorn and staghorn corals have shrunken to alarmingly low numbers with very little to non-existing recovery. Since corals under stress are likely to stop their reproduction―their energy is needed just to survive―or parental colonies are spaced too far apart for their eggs and sperm to meet, we give them a helping hand where natural recruitment does not succeed anymore. “Restoration alone will not help corals to survive, but restoration can be a very important tool to add to the toolbox of managing and conserving coral reefs”, quoting Dr. Dirk Petersen, Executive Director and Founder of SECORE in 'A novel coral restoration concept - SECORE's pilot project in Mexico'.
Please enjoy this documentary about our joint work, lovingly captured by Reef Patrol―learn how coral restoration works and take an exciting glimpse behind the scene: