Coral Reefs: Restoration & Resilience
Globally, coral reefs are under threat from one or more impacts including climate change, ocean acidification, disease outbreak, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, and pollution. The Sea of Change Foundation seeks, guides, and funds projects that address these impacts directly through coral reef restoration and science to better understand natural resilience to these environmental stressors.
Cayman Coral Nursery Project, 2016-17 Coral Reefs Learn MORE>
Reversing the Decline of Bahamian Coral Reefs – Herbivory Study, 2018 The Foundation helped fund the Perry Institute for Marine Science’s (www.perryinstitute.org) long-term program to understand the dynamics of potential coral reef recovery. Our funding support focused on work to understand how the reintroduction of native long-spine black sea urchins as important grazers of algae could aid in natural recovery of corals.
“Rebuilding populations of Diadema antillarum is essential for the health of Bahamian coral reefs. While coral restoration efforts can enhance coral populations for a few species at individual sites, widespread recovery of coral reefs requires control of macroalgae to allow coral larvae to recruit and survive on reefs. Unfortunately, existing grazers such as parrotfish do not seem capable of this task on many reefs and Diadema have yet to recover in The Bahamas after they died off over 35 years ago. While efforts at aquarium and aquaculture facilities are underway for the restocking of Diadema to reefs, we are conducting critical research to determine factors preventing Diadema populations from recovery and examining how restocking Diadema to reefs may be effectively conducted to promote sustainable Diadema populations and reducing algae on reefs.” ~ Craig Dahlgren PhD, project principal investigator
Lime Kiln Reef Rescue & Restoration – Grenada, 2018. The Foundation funded a local dive operator to secure a large, shallow- water wreck, the “Reel Steel” and remove damaging debris from their local reef that attracts divers and snorkelers. Coral fragments were collected and are now growing in a developing nursery for future out-planting.The restored reef provides habitat for threatened elkhorn coral, vase sponges, gorgonians and reef fish including eagle rays, nurse sharks, and seahorses.
The effects of ocean acidification on the calcification, respiration and photosynthesis of an Indo-Pacific coral Montipora digitate – Savannah State University, Department of Marine and Environmental Science, 2018
The objective of this study is to determine the impacts of ocean acidification on a tropical coral species, finger coral (Montipora digitata). Coral reefs are regarded as vital ecosystems for fisheries, tourism, and shoreline protection and are essential for the maintaining biodiversity in the oceans. However, corals are extremely vulnerable to increased carbon dioxide concentrations associated with ocean acidification. Due to a lack of long term studies, there is still a gap in knowledge about whether some of these coral species have a potential for adaptation or acclimation to the new human-influence environment. To address this critical knowledge gap, the study uses patented long-term acclimation and carbonate chemistry manipulation systems to directly investigate the effects of ocean acidification on the tightly-coupled physiological processes of photosynthesis, respiration and calcification in the coral Montipora digitata.