New guidelines drafted by a consortium of concerned experts could enable corals to adapt to changing environments and help restore declining coral populations in the Caribbean. The guidelines provide a definitive plan for collecting, raising, and replanting corals that maximizes their potential for adaptation.
A new paper outlining the guidelines, authored by the restoration genetics working group of the Coral Restoration Consortium, a group of scientists, restoration practitioners, educators, and concerned members of the public, appears online July 22, 2019 in the journal Ecological Applications.
“The Caribbean has experienced tremendous coral loss over the last few decades, and coral restoration has become an urgent issue in the region,” said Iliana Baums, professor of biology at Penn State and chair of the Coral Restoration Consortium restoration genetics working group. “But few of the traditional guidelines for conservation, which tend to focus on vertebrates or plants, apply to corals. In this paper, we provide concrete guidelines for restoring coral populations, using the best available data.”
Corals serve as the foundation for reefs, which protect coastal communities, provide food and medicinal compounds, and lead to an estimated $9.9 trillion per year in goods and services around the globe. But reefs worldwide face a variety of threats—foremost among them rising ocean temperatures—and are declining, particularly in the Caribbean.
A recent National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration-commissioned report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides a broad overview of 23 coral restoration strategies, though most are largely untested and not ready for implementation.
“The guidelines in this new paper are among those that can be implemented immediately and are grounded in the idea that coral populations can naturally respond to change if they have enough genetic diversity,” said Baums. “We are focusing on maintaining or increasing the genetic diversity of coral populations, which will provide more options for the corals to adapt to their changing environments.”
Coral populations grow in a variety of environments, covering a range of temperatures, depths, and light conditions, and they tend to adapt to local conditions. Thus, individuals in different environments should have differences in their genetic code that allow them to thrive. The consortium recommends collecting corals from these different environments to capture as much genetic diversity as possible. Then corals should be raised in a nursery, where they can quickly grow, and replanted on reefs.
“Corals can reproduce both asexually and sexually,” said Baums. “We can break off a small piece of a colony and replant it, essentially yielding a clone of the original coral. But sexual reproduction is key to naturally producing genetic diversity, and rates of sexual reproduction on reefs are dropping dramatically, especially for true reef-building corals. By replanting diverse corals in small groups, we enable the corals to sexually reproduce with each other.”
Collected corals could be replanted in locations similar to their original environment, or in locations that may soon become similar to their original environment.
“By taking advantage of improved climate models, we can anticipate where these traits may be beneficial in the future,” said Baums.
“We hope these guidelines for collecting, raising, and replanting corals will help to establish self-sustaining, sexually reproducing coral populations,” said Baums. “The situation surrounding coral reef decline is certainly dire, but we have a tremendous community of people that is dedicated to solving the problem. We have made enormous progress in figuring out how to do coral restoration, and we can make a difference in coral populations today. But for every minute that passes, it gets harder. With every missed opportunity to curb carbon emissions, which contribute to rising ocean temperatures, it gets even harder. Coral reefs are the world’s most diverse ecosystems and they provide incredibly important ecosystem services, so we really cannot afford to lose them.”
Learn more: How to restore a coral reef: New guidelines for helping corals adapt to changing environment
The Latest on: Coral reef restoration
[google_news title=”” keyword=”coral reef restoration” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Coral reef restoration
- Contest Alert: Win This Trip To Restore Coral Reefs In Indonesiaon May 27, 2023 at 5:07 pm
Want to be a coral reef influencer and see for yourself how to restore coral on the SHEBA Hope Reef in Indonesia? Enter this free trip contest before June 2, 2023.
- Bring Back the Seabirds, Save the Climateon May 27, 2023 at 5:00 am
The number of oceangoing birds has declined 70 percent since the 1950s, but restoring their populations can bolster marine ecosystems that sequester carbon.
- Tom Thumb, CFR and schools team up for coralon May 26, 2023 at 9:00 pm
In a unique collaboration, local third-graders and Tom Thumb Food Stores are joining forces to support Coral Restoration Foundation (CFR) in its effort to restore coral reefs in the Florida ...
- Dive Into World Oceans Day At Zoo Miami With Captain Coral's Scavenger Extravaganza 2023!on May 26, 2023 at 3:29 pm
Captian Coral and his crew are descending on Zoo Miami on June 4th to kick of World Oceans Day celebration Kids of all ages can expect t ...
- ‘Turning the Tide’ for mangrove and coral in Arubaon May 26, 2023 at 12:35 am
Turning the Tide' started, a large nature restoration project for the mangrove forests and coral reefs in Aruba. It is a collaboration between Wageningen University & Research and the Aruban partners ...
- Restoration assessment on the way for Osborne Reefon May 24, 2023 at 2:49 pm
DEP is required to develop a comprehensive restoration plan by July 2024. Gov. Ron DeSantis put pen to paper and now a plan will go forward to assess a remedy for one of the all-time mistakes in ...
- Marine ranch helps promote protection, restoration of marine ecosystem in Hainanon May 22, 2023 at 5:48 am
In recent years, the marine ranch has successively carried out artificial reef installation, marine environment restoration and coral transplantation, gradually promoting the protection and ...
- SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program: Join the World's Largest Coral Restoration Projecton May 22, 2023 at 4:04 am
SHEBA®, a Mars, Incorporated pet food brand, is inviting you to participate in restoring coral reefs through SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program. It is looking for five lucky advocates from all around the ...
- Caribbean king crabs arrive at Mote Aquaculture Park; seen as key to restoring coral reefson May 18, 2023 at 2:16 am
The first baby Caribbean king crabs born at Mote Aquaculture Research Park arrived Tuesday morning – less than a week after their mom and 31 other crabs moved north from the Elizabeth Moore ...
- Caribbean king crabs arrive at Mote Aquaculture Park; seen as key to restoring coral reefson May 18, 2023 at 1:00 am
Once enough crabs are produced and permits are secured, the holistic phase of reef restoration will being in the Florida Keys ...
via Bing News