Formation of a new Coral Restoration Consortium (CRC)

Photo Credit: 
3 year old Palmata with Diadema 2016 (© Sean Griffin)

The development of a consortium emerged as a priority recommendation from the November 2016 “Workshop to Advance the Science and Practice of Caribbean Coral Restoration.” The CRC is a community of practice that comprises scientists, managers, coral restoration practitioners, and educators dedicated to enabling coral reef ecosystems to adapt and survive the 21st century and beyond. The CRC’s mission is to foster collaboration and technology transfer among participants, and to facilitate scientific and practical ingenuity to demonstrate that restoration can achieve meaningful results at scales relevant to reefs in their roles of protecting coastlines, supporting fisheries, and serving as economic engines for coastal communities.

The CRC is forming with full recognition that saving the world’s coral reefs will be difficult and requires a multi-pronged approach. Immediate and aggressive action on climate change is paramount for the long- term survival of reefs; however, carbon already committed to the atmosphere will continue to warm ocean waters to a level inhospitable to corals for decades to come. Thus the problem needs to be simultaneously addressed at multiple scales. Globally, aggressive action is required to reverse climate change; regionally, integrated networks of protected reef ecosystems are needed to ensure that corals can survive and adapt; and locally, as threats such as overfishing and pollution are managed, we need to repopulate target reefs with resilient, genetically diverse and reproductively viable corals. This active and targeted coral repopulation using novel ecological interventions is one way we may buy tropical reefs time to adapt to changing ocean conditions so that they may thrive in the future.

To help increase the scale and efficiency of coral restoration, we are focusing on the following topical priorities for the next three to five years. For each priority a dedicated Working Group is being formed to develop solutions-oriented action plans and to help establish best management practices. The priorities are:

  • Scaling-up in-water, land-based, and larval propagation.
  • Designing projects to demonstrate multi-species ecosystem functioning and coastal protection.
  • Coordinating and fostering genetics science into adaptive restoration.
  • Developing restoration monitoring guidelines and common-access data platforms.

The CRC will initially focus efforts on Caribbean coral restoration, but we invite participation from scientists, managers, and practitioners working in other regions to help expand knowledge and collaboration. If successful in the Caribbean and resources permit we look forward to helping spread restoration efforts globally.

To get involved with the CRC and receive e-mail updates on the CRC’s development, newsletters with scholarly information on restoration, quarterly webinar announcements, and information on how to join Working Groups click here.

For general inquires on the CRC please email coral.restoration@noaa.gov or contact the coordinator, Tali Vardi (NOAA), or the co-chairs, Scott Winters (Coral Restoration Foundation) or Tom Moore (NOAA).