Updated: Jul 19, 2019
This World Oceans Day, coral reefs around the world got an upgrade.
On World Oceans Day every year, Coral Restoration Foundation™ takes out an army of ocean lovers to actively restore reefs in Florida and beyond.
It’s seriously important.
In the last 30 years, we’ve lost more than 50% of the world’s coral reefs. Unless we intervene immediately, all shallow water coral reefs could be lost in the next 80 years, or sooner.
Coral reefs are a vital component of life in the ocean. They are the “rainforests of the sea”, and support more than 25% of all marine life. Without coral reefs, the delicate balance of life in the ocean will collapse, and, given that over 70% of the oxygen that we breathe comes from the ocean, the consequences for all life on Earth would be catastrophic.
But don't despair, hope exists. By working together, we can turn this around.
Roxane Boonstra, Coral Restoration Foundation™ Dive and Volunteer Coordinator, explains why Coralpalooza™ is so powerful; “Coralpalooza™ is a way for all ocean lovers, whether on land or in the water, to unite to prevent the loss of our coral reefs. By working together in this 48-hour period, this massive, coordinated, tangible action sends a message of hope for coral reefs from the Florida Keys to the rest of the world!”
In the Keys alone, participants returned a total of 1,760 corals to the Florida Reef Tract. This is more corals than have been outplanted during any previous Coralpalooza™.
It’s possibly the most tangible way for everyone to celebrate saving life in the seas.
CORALPALOOZA™ INTERNATIONAL 2019
But we also took Coralpalooza™ international in a big way in 2019, with coral scientists and restoration groups undertaking special activities around the world as part of the event.
Here is just a taste of what’s went on around the world:
Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources in Hawaii
On June 7th the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources in Hawaii team went out and outplanted three 42-cm full coral modules on a damaged reef site off the Honolulu Airport. In Hawaii, each 42-cm coral colony represents (on average) between 20 - 25 years worth of growth.
On June 8th, they went to outplant the extremely rare endemic Porites duerdeni, which was thought to have disappeared from Kaneohe Bay (one of its only known habitat locations in the world) during the last major bleaching. This effort represents one of the only known instances of extremely rare coral species re-introductions into the wild to date!
This was extremely newsworthy and covered by the press throughout Hawaii.
Coral Vita in Grand Bahama
On June 8th, eight Coral Vita volunteers accumulated a total of 52 hours of coral restoration work. They collected 25 new frags for rearing, and cleaned 174 of the coral frags in their nurseries.
Horniman Museum and Gardens in London
On June 7th the Horniman team analyzed corals that had been sent from Singapore to assess their readiness for spawning. They found that the corals are full of eggs and predicted to spawn at the end of July.
They also spent the day cleaning their juvenile Acropora colonies. These babies were produced through in-vitro fertilization from last year’s December spawn. Groundbreaking work!
On June 8th, they launched the Beat Plastic Pollution campaign at their World Oceans Day event, where admission to the aquarium was free and visitors were engaged in all things coral conservation and Coralpalooza™.
Mote Marine and Laboratory in the Lower Florida Keys
On June 8th, the team from Mote outplanted 750 micro fragments of coral at Rock Key in the Lower Keys. This was followed by a monitoring trip to assess 600 one-month-old staghorn outplants at Marker 32 which revealed a 100-percent survivorship, with all 600 corals ranked healthy in appearance with no or minimal breakage.
Ticatove in Puerto Rico
On June 8, in Puerto Rico, Ticatove partnered with Isla Nena Scuba to complete an underwater cleanup at Mosquito Pier in Vieques, Puerto Rico. This location is known for its turtles, dolphins, and manatees. However due to this abundance of marine life it has become a popular fishing spot, leading to large amounts of line and other fishing gear getting left behind.
Twelve divers spent an hour collecting over 100 lbs of monofilament and other trash from beneath the quarter-mile-long pier. The work they accomplished worked out to be the equivalent of 12 hours underwater!!!
Oceanus in Mexico
On June 8th and 9th, with the help of 14 local, visiting and ScubaVer dive shop volunteers, members of the Oceanus, A.C. team in Mexico transplanted 350 Acropora palmata fragments to a restoration site in the Veracruz National Park. Another group of staff and volunteers from the Farmont Mayakoá Hotel in Playa del Carmen transported 70 colonies of A. palmata to the restoration site as well.
Triton's Realm in St Croix
In St Croix 60 people attend lecture series on Friday June 7th at the East End Marine Park. Leatherback beer was also on hand serving their craft brew.
Ashlee Lillis, the Virgin Islands Coral Manager for The Nature Conservancy, gave a presentation on on "Coral restoration in a rapidly changing world: how innovation in St. Croix can help build resilient reefs in the USVI and beyond".
Antonio Farchette, Graduate Student in Master of Marine and Environmental Sciences at UVI, talked about the "Ecology And Management of the Globally Invasive Seagrass - Halophila Stipulacea".
Clayton Pollock, Biological Science Technician with the National Park Service, discussed species tracking at Buck Island - everything from sharks to conch.
On Saturday June 8th, 30 divers and snorkelers came out to learn about coral restoration and tour the coral nursery at the Sweet Bottom Dive Center at Cane Bay with the Nature Conservancy. A 30 minute talk and discussion on coral restoration was provided ahead of each dive.
Seascape Caribbean in Jamaica
On June 8th, Andrew Ross, Jonathan Hernould, and Weston Bingham from Seascape Caribbean in Jamaica spent outplanted 130 nursery-raised corals and returned them them to the house-reef shallows of the Round Hill Reef Garden, Hopewell, Hanover. They also monitored 1200 outplanted corals removing predatory fireworms and snails. Thanks to a kayak provided by Captain's Water Sports, they also removed a hefty amount of marine debris.
For those of you who can’t wait for next year’s Coralpalooza, there are plenty of other ways to get involved with the Coral Restoration Foundation™, whether it’s joining a Dive Program, becoming a volunteer, making a donation, or getting involved in our education programs.
For more information head on over to coralrestoration.org and while you’re there be sure to sign up for the First Alert for the 6th Annual Coralpalooza in 2020!
Coralpalooza™ 2019 was sponsored by ANGARI Foundation, Fury Adventure Watersports, Horizon Divers, Island Ventures, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Dives, Keys Diver, Rainbow Reef Dive Centers, Silent World Dive Center, Reefbox, and Filter King.