giving coral reefs a future

worldwide coral reef conservation through research, education, outreach, and restoration

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Coral restoration - our strategy and implementation

Tag icon
  • Collecting elkhorn eggs (Paul Selvaggio)
  • Acropora palmata, 1 month old (Dirk Petersen)
  • SECORE Seeding Units with coral babies are lined-up for outplanting onto the reef (K. Latijnhouwers)
  • Research Technician Kelly Latijnhouwers is transfering coral babies onto a reef. (Reef Patrol)
  • New SECORE Seeding Units on the reef (John Parkinson).jpg
  • Seeding Unit with a tiny brain coral growing on it (Valérie Chamberland)
  • Outplanted elkhorn coral, 7 years old (Paul Selvaggio)
We develop techniques and concepts for large-scale restoration imbedded in a sustainable coral reef conservation strategy. Our work is based on sound scientific results, translating our findings into protocols for the actual field work.

The practical implementation is conducted in close cooperation with local partners at each site―scientists and practitioners, as well as stakeholders, authorities and NGO's―to integrate our projects into national conservation policies and to obtain acceptance by local communities

SECORE conducts and supports studies on all aspects of conservation, especially on sexual coral reproduction (References) and how to use it for coral restoration. Then, we develop protocols to implement our findings in the field. We participate in wide networks of restoration science and practice, such as the Coral Restoration Consortium.

So far, coral restoration is still labor and resource intensive and can only be carried out on a relatively small scale; thus not meeting the scale of need. SECORE and partners have developed a new concept (SECORE film) that will enable us to seed large numbers of coral recruits without the need to attach each coral by hand (Sowing corals). We are working with leading scientists to improve our techniques and develop new ones.

A pilot research project for the restoration of endangered Caribbean corals, specifically for the elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), was established on Curaçao (Project Curaçao) in 2010. As part of the project, sexually raised recruits were successfully out-planted on local reefs. In 2015, those recruits spawned together with the natural population on the reef (laboratory bred corals reproduce in the wild). In the same year, we started a pilot project for larger-scale sexual coral restoration in Mexico and expanded our effort on Curaçao.

Extending our operational range, we launched the Global Coral Restoration Project together with our partners in 2017.

SECORE's field workshops have been attended by professionals from over 60 institutions, so far. We share our knowledge on sexual coral reproduction, breeding (larval settlement), and coral restoration techniques with the participants, while they assist in the actual field work (Media report). Since 2005, SECORE has hosted workshops in Curaçao, Mexico, Guam, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Belize, Singapore and the Philippines as well as aquarium workshops in Europe and USA. Our field workshops are typically held during annual mass spawning events at each location. Public evenings for local communities and tourists are an integral part of these workshops.

Outreach and education are an important part of our work and we take up the challenge to spread the word on behalf of coral reefs, their threats and the means to protect them as much as we can. In 2019, we published the educational kids comic 'Coral Heroes', a joint project with illustrator Bernhard Speh (spehzies).

The outreach and education programs of SECORE’s zoo and aquarium partners reach millions of people around the world every year. Many of these partners feature permanent exhibits on coral reefs, how to propagate corals and restore reefs, and their work with SECORE.

We reach out to the international press, informing about the alarming status of the world’s coral reefs, telling about the work we do to preserve coral reefs for future generations highlighting the cooperation with our partners. Our social media channels (TwitterFacebook and Youtube) will keep you up to date about our work and related news while you can witness ongoing efforts online. You can read the latest news articles and press releases about SECORE's work in our newsroom.


Meet our supporters

SECORE's lead partners are:

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
California Academy of Science
Columbus Zoo
The Nature Conservancy

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