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.
Since 2002, SECORE and partners have accomplished key research in the fields of aquaculture, coral reproductive biology, population genetics and restoration (References). We have developed the basic technology to apply sexual coral reproduction for sustainable management of coral populations in public aquaria.
Following these successes, we extended our work to implement these techniques for field restoration. 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 (Our work).
Extending our operational range, we launched the Global Coral Restoration Project together with partners such as the California Academy of Sciences and The Nature Conservancy in 2017. As a starting point, we plan to deploy one million seeded coral substrates across up to ten locations in the Caribbean over five years. The US Virgin Islands and the Bahamas are two new working sites under this project. In parallel we are investigating options to expand the project towards the Pacific.
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.