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"Bringing it Back" in May 2023 with the Coral Chronicles

CORALPALOOZA™ 2023!

JOIN US FOR THE BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF CORAL REEFS IN THE WORLD!

Coralpalooza™ is a life-affirming opportunity to be part of large-scale massive action to save and restore our world's coral reefs. At Coralpalooza™, you can join forces with volunteers, local communities, and international partners to restore and protect the heart of our oceans' biodiversity.

Coralpalooza™ Dive Day 2021 brought together hundreds of ocean advocates who helped our team monitor restoration sites! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


On Saturday, June 10th, we have a veritable armada of boats leaving from the Upper and Lower Keys for a day of active coral reef restoration on Florida's Coral Reef, working alongside the CRF™ team! This is Coralpalooza™ Dive Day!


Not a SCUBA diver? No problem! Coralpalooza™ Festival will have fun and games for the whole family!

Simultaneously on Saturday June 10th, we will be hosting events in both Key Largo and Key West with kayaking, yard games, food & drinks, and prizes up for grabs.! Details are coming soon, be the first to know by RSVPing "GOING" to our Facebook event page linked here: https://fb.me/e/2ExiZauVD

Coralpalooza™ 2019 was a major hit with both land-based events and on-water action! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


This weekend at Coralpalooza™ 2023 we will truly see our community at their best. Here in Florida, hundreds of recreational divers and an armada of donated dive boats will join us to return thousands of corals to the wild. Around the world, 28 incredible organizations will be undertaking reef-saving work alongside CRF™ for World Oceans Day, bringing Coralpalooza 2023 to the USA, Jamaica, Hawaii, Australia, Colombia, Indonesia, CNMI, St. Croix, USVI, Costa Rica, Seychelles, Honduras, and the Maldives!

Find all the details about Coralpalooza™ 2023 on our website! https://www.coralrestoration.org/coralpalooza-2023

 

SUMMERTIME MADNESS:NURSERY EXPANSIONS AND CORAL RESCUES ABOUND

Summer has finally arrived, bringing with it a flurry of activity for our dedicated restoration divers! We've been hard at work at Tavernier Nursery, the largest underwater Coral Tree™ Nursery in the world, organizing and expanding our operations. Additionally, we've had the pleasure of welcoming even more rescued corals into our care!


Throughout the month of May, our team has been diligently organizing our Tavernier Nursery. With over 500 Coral Trees™ housed in this expansive nursery, the task at hand requires a considerable amount of manpower and precise planning. The anchors that hold down our coral trees have a limited lifespan and some are currently in need of replacement. We replace these duckbill anchors every 7 years. We hired contractors to complete this important task efficiently. Furthermore, we are currently devising plans to rearrange the layout of the nursery, enhancing its organization and navigability.

Organizing and maintaining our Tavernier Nursery is a major feat! Thank goodness CRF™ has a stellar team of Restoration Divers! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


As the temperatures rise with the onset of summer, our restoration divers find solace in the warming waters. However, the same cannot be said for the corals under our care. To mitigate the heat stress experienced by our corals during the summer months, we are gradually lowering the Coral Trees™ in our nurseries from their original depth of 15ft to approximately 25ft. This adjustment, though challenging, requires physical strength and a collective effort from our dedicated interns and staff, who possess the necessary ambition and technique to ensure the well-being of our corals.

Lowering Coral Trees™ is hard work. Thankfully the hogfish were there for moral support. ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™


In addition to our ongoing Nursery care, our restoration team recently had the opportunity to rescue a diverse array of coral species which will now be cared for and housed in our genetic bank! We coordinated the careful pick-up and transfer of various coral species, including Mountainous star corals, Great star corals, Brain corals, and Cactus corals.


Staff from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) reached out to our team, presenting us with the chance to rescue corals on a sea wall located near a site undergoing development. Prior to collecting corals from the wild to enhance the genotypic diversity of our broodstock, we prioritize sourcing species and genotypes from suitable practitioners and partners who have already collected or successfully propagated the species of interest. By doing so, we alleviate pressure on already stressed wild coral populations. The corals obtained through FKNMS will find a new home in our Tavernier gene bank, eventually becoming an integral part of our propagation pipeline in the coming years. Upon their arrival, these rescued corals were carefully installed on coral tables. Unlike our previous rescues, these corals were impressively large and too heavy for our non-acroporid coral trees.

CRF™ divers are able to rescue corals that would otherwise perish in the wild and bring them to our nurseries for rehabilitation and eventual restoration! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


During this same week, we were fortunate to receive a generous donation of Cactus coral from The Florida Aquarium, which we promptly transported to our Key West Nursery. The Florida Aquarium has earned a well-deserved reputation for their successful care and breeding of corals from multiple species that are representative of Florida's coral reefs. We are thrilled to collaborate with them and appreciate their willingness to support CRF™ with the corals we require. It is noteworthy that until now, we have not housed non-acroporid corals in any nursery other than Tavernier. The decision to keep these Cactus corals in Key West is based on their classification as a brooder species, meaning they undergo internal fertilization and embryogenesis before releasing settlement competent larvae. Brooder species need to remain within their region in which they were collected from originally.


At Coral Restoration Foundation™, our gene bank serves as the repository for multiple genotypes from over 20 species of reef-building corals, including several ESA-listed species, which are essential as broodstock for restoration purposes. As we continue to expand our in-situ gene bank, we are committed to housing a more representative and genetically diverse collection of Florida's corals. This concerted effort enables us to play a crucial role in restoration initiatives throughout the region and globally as coral restoration practitioners.

 

Bringing It Back Editorial Intern

Jessie grew up in Davie, Florida, just a short drive to the beach. After receiving her first SCUBA certification, she spent a lot of time diving in the Florida Keys with her family. Her passion for coral reef ecology and marine conservation strengthened with every visit. Jessie holds a B.S. degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Florida State University as well as AAUS scientific diver accreditation from Florida International University.

Following graduation, she aspired to have a more direct, tangible impact on the restoration of the same reefs that ignited her passions as a kid, leading her to become an intern with Coral Restoration Foundation. As a part of the CRF team, Jessie feels very grateful to contribute to reef restoration on a large-scale.

Coral Chronicles Editor

Madalen Howard is CRF's Communications and Outreach Coordinator. She comes to CRF™ via a winding road from the Tennessee hills, to the South Carolina low country, ending here in Florida’s Coral Reef. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and a Minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Her experience ranges from field research to education, marketing and digital communications.

With CRF™ Madalen creates inclusive pathways to scientific discovery through content creation and by building and fostering relationships with press, digital media creators, and local community members. Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature, and is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration.


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