Join us on a coral journey

by    Carin    15th October 2016
1
Coral reef at East Point, Curacao
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Mass spawning event: corals release egg-and-sperm bundles like 'snow falling bottom up'
3
Raised coral recruits on settlement substrate
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little blennie hiding within a coral's tentacles

On the tropical island of Curacao,
SECORE International's annual board meeting has just taken place.
Scientists, aquarium professionals and the members of our directory
board gathered to strengthen our joint forces. SECORE stands for
SExual COral REproduction and refers to the fact that we aim at
restoring reefs with corals raised from collected spawn in the wild
and outplanting them thereafter. Our vision is to seed corals on a
larger scale in the near future. Working with sexually produced
corals, we can culture up to millions of larvae from one mass
spawning event. That offers the unique opportunity to raise huge
numbers of coral offspring with comparatively little effort and low
costs.

Today, as many divers have already
witnessed themselves, coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate
worldwide. Suffering under direct human impacts such as pollution,
overfishing and destruction, coral reefs are additionally facing the
overall threat of climate change. Catastrophic events like coral
bleaching are now taking place on a global scale and in-between
recovery time seems to be getting shorter each time. Having dived
within a completely bleached reef is an haunting experience,
especially if you have seen the same reef in its true colors before.
And many corals subsequently die.

We have now reached a point where
management alone, such as in well looked after Marine Protected
Areas, may not be enough to ensure the survival of coral reefs beyond
the next century.

Some may think restoration is an easy
tool to apply―we only have
to replant what is currently lost. Unfortunately, you cannot rebuild
a coral reef from scratch. Similar to a rainforest, it's like a
complex super organism interlinked on many levels and scales. As a
start, you rather aim at helping what is left of the reef to recover.
Then, you will need a well-managed area where additional stress
factors are reduced, if you want to succeed. The reef may not be able
to overcome the obstacle to recover alone, as, for instance, new
coral offspring is rare. Even if some people may claim otherwise, we
still have a lot to learn to make lasting coral restoration happen.

SECORE has taken on the challenge to
effectively restore coral reefs in the future by using a quite unique
approach. We work mainly with the corals' natural reproduction, but
are also taking advantage of corals raised from fragmentation that
for instance can function as a broodstock. We combine scientific
research with hand-on practice of aquarium professionals that know
how to keep corals alive. Our partners on-site are heavily
involved―they know their
reefs―and together we
foster conservation efforts. And we never miss a chance to spread the
word on behalf of the coral reefs. So, join us on a coral journey!

And experience the magic of coral
spawning on Curacao in my next blog!

Pics are screenshots from SECORE –
the film,
make sure to set to full HD before watching... ;-)

SECORE International

Written by
Carin
Date
15th October 2016
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