"Bringing it Back" in June 2021 with the Coral Chronicles

BOULDER CORAL RESTORATION PROGRESSES

Our boulder coral program is kicking into high gear! We've placed an emphasis on returning boulder corals we are caring for in our nurseries to the reef. This past month, we spent a lot of time underwater in our Tavernier Nursery, fragmenting, and updating our boulder coral trees so that they will have even more opportunities for growth before they make their way back out onto the reef.

Our Boulder Coral Tree design is set up to allow the corals to grow over small plugs which can easily be secured to the reef. ©Alexander Neufeld/Coral Restoration Foundation™


A memorable time for our team was spending a two-day period propagating boulder coral to increase our nursery populations in preparation for their return to the reef. Those corals will quickly reach restoration size (about the circumference of a silver dollar) and make their journey to their new home on Florida's Coral Reef!

Coral Restoration Foundation™ Lead Intern Dana McConnell returns boulder corals to Florida's Coral Reef. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

Our Sea Base Intern Lindsey Smith described her first-time boulder restoration experience, saying that, “Having the opportunity to work with boulder corals was great! It is so different from the branching corals I am used to working with daily. Working with these different types of corals helps to provide a more well-rounded perspective of the general makeup of not only our coral nurseries, but also the future visions of our restored reefs.”

This before and after shows a portion of reef before we secure Boulder Corals to it and after! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


Other members of our Restoration Team made the trip with our boulder corals out to Carysfort Reef and returned 413 boulder corals in 6 clusters onto the reef, and then followed up that impressive work with 278 more boulder corals returned the following day! We are certainly looking forward to continuing these impressive numbers of corals returned to Florida’s Coral Reef over the months to come!

One of the methods we use to return boulder corals is attaching them to sites they have grown historically, seen here. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

RETURNING CORALS TO EASTERN DRY ROCK REEF IN KEY WEST

Our team is working in high gear to expand our restoration efforts in Key West. While expanding our Key West Nursery we are also returning corals to Eastern Dry Rocks reef! Eastern Dry Rocks is one of the seven reef sites on Florida’s Coral Reef that is being restored as part of Mission: Iconic Reefs.


While we expand our nursery, the corals being returned to Eastern Dry Rocks reef make a day trip from our headquarters in Tavernier to Key West. In early May, our team had an epic day returning 385 elkhorn coral to Eastern Dry Rocks; they even spotted a juvenile bull shark that swam by to check out its newly restored habitat! The following week, we returned to Eastern Dry Rocks to bring 285 elkhorn coral to the reef, for a total of 670 corals in just 2 boat trips. Conditions onboard the boat started out bumpy but it turned into a beautiful and successful day.

Corals are transported from Tavernier to Key West inside these blue crates with plenty of oxygen circulation from a bubbler, and ice packs to ensure the water stays a comfortable temperature! ©Coral Restoration Foundation


That is not all from Key West! We fragmented corals and filled the newly added trees, moved the trees so genotypes are in numerical order for better organization and efficiency, and took inventory of the entire nursery. The expansion of the Key West nursery is underway and progressing successfully thanks to our awesome team!

WELCOME OUR NEW RESTORATION PROGRAM INTERNS

Our Restoration Team is excited to have Jeremy Goodsnyder and Sami Miller join them for the Summer 2021 as Program Interns for the department! Sami and Jeremy have been interns at CRF™ since September 2020.

Restoration Program Intern Jeremy cleans coral trees. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


Jeremy is from Chicago, Illinois and is excited to continue to give back to the coral reefs here on the Florida Reef Tract! He is looking forward to continuing to expand his restoration skills and share what he has learned through educational trainings with all the new interns for what should be an incredibly busy and productive summer of outplanting and coral restoration. He is also planning on spearheading a Boulder Coral Gene Bank project in our Tavernier Nursery along with another intern with the support of the Restoration Staff. He is also looking forward to leading dive trips this summer and taking charge of the restoration efforts on land as well as underwater.

Restoration Program Intern Sami Miller swims through our coral nursery. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


Sami is from Cincinnati, Ohio and has loved seeing how CRF’s™ mission has inspired others to care about our oceans. Over the past eight months, she has enjoyed participating in outreach events, improving her scientific diving skills, and gaining confidence working on boats. This summer, Sami is excited to lead new interns in and out of the water and gain more knowledge about restoration efforts at CRF™. Sami will be working to build a permitting and restoration goals tracker to help paint the big picture of CRFs ever expanding restoration plans.

RESOURCES FOR YOU

"Bringing It Back" Editorial Interns

Jeremy Jeremy is from Chicago, Illinois and is excited to continue to give back to the coral reefs here on the Florida Reef Tract! He is looking forward to continuing to expand his restoration skills and share what he has learned through educational trainings with all the new interns for what should be an incredibly busy and productive summer of outplanting and coral restoration. He is also planning on spearheading a Boulder Coral Gene Bank project in our Tavernier Nursery along with another intern with the support of the Restoration Staff. He is also looking forward to leading dive trips this summer and taking charge of the restoration efforts on land as well as underwater.

Sami is from Cincinnati, Ohio and has loved seeing how CRF’s™ mission has inspired others to care about our oceans. Over the past eight months, she has enjoyed participating in outreach events, improving her scientific diving skills, and gaining confidence working on boats. This summer, Sami is excited to lead new interns in and out of the water and gain more knowledge about restoration efforts at CRF™. Sami will be working to build a permitting and restoration goals tracker to help paint the big picture of CRFs ever expanding restoration plans.

Coral Chronicles Editorial Intern

Tessa Markham is a recent graduate of Skidmore College, with a BA in English and Environmental Studies. She grew up in Wilton, in southwestern Connecticut, but spent her summers growing up either hiking and camping in the woods or swimming and sailing on the water. She has always been passionate about climate change and conservation. Diving for the first time in 2014 while taking a marine conservation course in the Caribbean leeward islands, she quickly amassed dives and got her PADI Instructor certification just three years later. Just after completing her instructor training, she spent nearly a month on the Yucatan


Peninsula conducting research on their reefs, looking at the ratio of soft versus stony coral death. She later channeled her distress at the degradation of the reefs to write a short story about coral bleaching, which was published in Volume 5 of the Oakland Arts Review in 2020. Her capstone thesis built on this theme and she wrote a collection of four creative short stories that detail and exemplify climate change-induced environmental damage through a narrative lens. She aims to combine her degrees and experiences to make a career in science communications, making research and conservation accessible to everybody.

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©2020 by Coral Restoration Foundation™

Headquarters

89111 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, Florida 33070

 

Exploration Center

5 Seagate Blvd, Key Largo, Florida 33037

(Next to the Pilot House Restaurant & Marina)

(305) 453-7030

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