From Coral Reproduction to Reef Restoration
Photo by Benjamin Müller: Spawning elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata)
Co-led by the exceptionally experienced Dr. Anastazia Banaszak, the virtual training was developed in close collaboration with Coralium Lab (UNAM). Our new team member Tania Doblado Speck coordinated the course, and Aric Bickel was highly involved in the conceptual design. Together with speakers Sandra Mendoza Quiroz, Raúl Tecalco Rentería, and Miles McGonigle, they gave exciting lessons on spawning observation, larval propagation, outplanting, and monitoring.
For the final session, we invited former participants for a lively panel discussion. Valeria Pizarro (PIMS), Rita Sellares (Fundemar), and Jenny Mallon (Expedition Akumal) shared their valuable experience from many years working in coral reef restoration. These three had joined some of our previous trainings and have been running successful coral propagation projects in the Caribbean on their own.
Photos by Paul Selvaggio: Spawn observation and collection; Spawning work during a previous in-person training; Outplanting seeding units (coral settlers on substrates)
Coral reef restoration practitioners and scientists from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, and Hawaii joined the interactive webinars. For some of them, it was the initial step in joining our implementation program. All groups were highly engaged, and everyone was thrilled that the first virtual training was a great success. Now, we will take the opportunity to optimize it even more, aiming at a concept that combines in-person with online training in the future. This will allow us to make capacity-building less expensive and more efficient while reducing our carbon footprint.
It is worth emphasizing that more than 80% of the participants who joined previous trainings are still involved in coral propagation, and we have no doubt that these dedicated folks will likewise advance efforts to restore their local coral reefs. Even though the online training is over, we will continue working closely together and support all groups with their restoration activities during the upcoming spawning season and beyond. Now, we are looking forward to restarting in-person training later this year!
Group screenshot of the recent virtual training
Since 2017, we have trained 45 participants from various institutions resulting in implementation programs in five countries. This year, we anticipate expanding to two more countries in Mesoamerica. Read more about our capacity-building program here: Capacity Center Mesoamerica
The virtual training was supported through a grant by the Lenton Parks Fund. The expansion of SECORE’s Training and Implementation Program in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica is supported by the Builders Initiative.