The Coral Restoration Foundation is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to restoring coral reefs. Using offshore nurseries to grow threatened coral species, CRF then outplants the corals directly to reefs across the Florida Keys. This year, CRF is proud to be a vendor at the Aquatic Experience in Chicago to help gather attention and support for the irreparable work performed by their staff and volunteers. Welcoming a new CEO, Scott Winters, PhD. this autumn, CRF is ready for one of their biggest years yet.
Aiming to make a difference in the face of major reef threats like coral bleaching and disease, as well as dealing with degraded water quality, CRF works hard to improve the health of reefs in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean. Martha Roesler, Chief Development Officer, states that the mission of hope performed by volunteers and staff at CRF works to “tip the scales for coral in our changing ocean environment.”
With a longstanding history of working with public aquariums and research institutions, CRF views their offshore nursery as a living laboratory with over 130 genotypes of coral. Every August, research partners join CRF staff in the nursery to observe the phenomenon of coral spawning. Everyone is one hand to research the sexual reproduction of these corals, with the ultimate goal of better understanding the mysterious process of Acropora coral spawning and how that translates to enhanced genetic diversity and restoration success of these corals.
Already achieving excellent growth numbers, CRF is expected to plant over 23,000 corals throughout this calendar year alone. Other considerations toward achieving CRF’s mission include identifying the best reef restoration sites, observing how ecological factors contribute to the restoration success, monitoring growth and conditions of outplanted corals, and developing new innovative solutions to enhance the growth of new species of coral in an offshore nursery setting.
By concentrating on two of the fastest growing species of reef-building coral, staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata), CRF seeks to provide invaluable habitats for fish and invertebrates as well as promote reef stability and protect unique coastal areas of reefs facing extinction.
Last year for World Oceans Day, the Coral Restoration Foundation launched 8 boats with over 70 volunteers resulting in 1,600 corals planted in one day! Consider how you can contribute to their worthy cause and find out more information on the importance of restoring reef sites in our ocean waters. As an organization that is heavily dependent upon volunteers to carry out their work, CRF could use your help in saving coral reefs. Stop by their booth this year at the Aquatic Experience Expo to find out how you can support their mission and contribute to this worthy cause!
For additional information on the CRF’s work visit their website or stop by their booth at the Aquatic Experience to find out more in person.