By seeding reefs with sexually reproduced coral offspring, the Global Coral Restoration Project (GCRP) aims to help maintain corals' genetic diversity which in turn maximizes their ability to adapt to future conditions. Furthermore, working with sexual coral restoration has the great potential to produce huge numbers of coral offspring from one coral spawning event. The GCRP includes training for partners from island nations and territories, including organizations capable of translating their efforts into local management plans that support this large-scale coral restoration initiative. The Global Coral Restoration Project starts in the Caribbean and is planned to expand into the Pacific region after its initial phase.
“Alarmed by the catastrophic state of their coral reefs, people have made various attempts to restore coral cover with restoration measures,” says Dr. Dirk Petersen, Executive Director and Founder of SECORE. “However, outcomes have often been short-lived and lacked an integrated concept. Moreover, the true capabilities of coral restoration have not been exhausted yet. With our joint Global Coral Restoration Project we aim at changing that.”
The first phase of the Global Coral Restoration Project will focus on the Caribbean. Scientists of the three key-partner organizations have gathered profound knowledge about coral reproduction and how to restore and conserve corals of the Caribbean, and plan to use a wide array of tools to implement coral restoration on largerscales.
Three capacity-building centers will be established in the Caribbean: in Mexico, Curacao, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At each location, a local team of experts will test and refine sexual reproduction techniques, and share these through capacity-building trainings and workshops with coral reef practitioners around the world. In addition, local communities will be actively involved in the process, providing local partners with outreach tools to facilitate community engagement. Integrating the communities that are impacted by this work is critical to making any restoration and conservation efforts successful in the long-term.
title pic: Jamie Craggs, Horniman Museum and Gardens