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"Diving In" to April with the Coral Chronicles

CORALPALOOZA™ 2023 REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

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! And registration is NOW OPEN! But if you want a space, you're going to have to act fast! Boat spaces fill up within days of registration opening. Don't miss your chance to be part of this world-changing event. REGISTER NOW!





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™

 

CRF™ SUPPORTS STUDENTS LEARNING APPLICABLE FIELD SCIENCE


We continued our collaboration with The College of the Florida Keys this month with Dr. Abigail Clark’s Field Application of Marine Science: Restoration of Coral Reefs class. This was the 2nd trip Dr. Clark's class took with CRF™ and this time we visited both the CRF™ Key West Nursery and a reef restoration site!


First, we did a quick nursery visit to clean up some coral trees. The visibility was low which made tree cleaning a bit more difficult. Diving conditions in low visibility are difficult to work in, but our team pushes on. Always staying within safety parameters, we become better divers by completing our tasks in challenging conditions. Barry the Barracuda was prowling around the Coral Trees™ and passed right behind some of the divers. Barry is a big boy, and with limited visibility he gave some of the team quite a scare! Not to worry though, Barry is a friendly barracuda!

Our divers are often visited by fish in the Coral Tree™ Nursery! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

After Dive 1 we headed to Marker 32, a reef site CRF™ has worked on for a number of years. Here, we piloted our new citizen science monitoring program. To monitor our corals with citizen scientists we use qualitative assessments which supplement our standard photomosaic monitoring completed by our restoration team. These assessments evaluate living coral tissue, fusion, disease, predation, and bleaching.


The college students were asked to monitor the clusters of coral at Marker 32. Our staghorn outplants were prevalent, some fused into complex thickets where lots of fish could be seen hovering and swimming in and out. These thickets provide amazing habitat for reef species and help diffuse wave energy. As the team monitored they saw a mixture of hopeful sights and saddening realities. Amongst some thriving thickets they also saw evidence of snail and fireworm predation. The most difficult part of the monitoring process is counting the corals. The students tried various methods of doing this. It’s important when counting to count multiple times and even still the numbers will often reflect some human error. This is why our photomosaic method is so much more accurate! It's easier to count when the waves aren't crashing on top of your head!

Dr. Abigail Clark’s Field Application of Marine Science: Restoration of Coral Reefs class joins CRF™ to be trained in our in-situ restoration techniques! ©Dr. Abigail Clark


After monitoring we went for a leisurely tour around the reef. We stumbled upon a large coral pillar skeleton, where 5-6 foot pillar corals once lived. They also encountered spurs of elkhorn corals CRF™ had previously outplanted and thickets of staghorn coral. Back on board the team debriefed and discussed their findings, challenges, and favorite moments.


Though this dive did expose the students to some heartbreaking realities of the state of our reefs in Florida, seeing the CRF™ restoration sites equally motivated them to keep working to find solutions to climate change and conserve biodiversity in the present. Our final program this semester with The College of the Florida Keys is scheduled soon and we are so glad to have had the opportunity to work with the school, teachers, and students.

 

"Diving In" Editorial Intern

Haley was born and raised in the Bay area in California, educated at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is now embarking on her next adventure in the Florida Keys. An Environmental Studies major with a Biology minor, Haley loves being face-to-face with the natural world. Animals being her biggest passion, she loves having up close experiences with the underwater world. Haley obtained her Divemaster training in Belize where she got to experience beautiful diving, but also heard stories about pristine reefs bustling with life, which have vanished. She has made it her mission to work for an organization that shares the goal of restoring and protecting the ocean. Working with CRF and incorporating diving, connecting with the community, and environmental restoration has been the adventure of a lifetime for Haley.


Coral Chronicles Editor

Madalen Howard (she/her) 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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