The Aquatic Experience is a proud supporter of the Coral Restoration Foundation and want to give you the opportunity to learn more about them. Please read this guest blog by Shalimar Moreno, a lead intern at the Coral Restoration Foundation.
The Coral Restoration Foundation is passionate about restoring North America’s only living coral barrier reef and the third largest barrier reef in the world. Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems that provide habitat and shelter for countless marine organisms. As a nonprofit organization based in Key Largo, Florida, we have made it our mission to restore our precious coral reefs using offshore nurseries to grow endangered coral species.
We have 7 coral nurseries throughout the Florida Keys tract to grow various species of threatened corals using innovative techniques. Our corals are grown on “tree” structures that are suspended in the water column. With this technique, our corals receive constant water flow from all angles, aiding their growth while reducing negative impacts from sediment and algae. When corals grow to roughly the size of your hand they are ready to be planted back onto the reef. Our team works diligently to outplant staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals in order to preserve genetic diversity of wild populations. With over 300 genotypes in our nurseries we believe we can move toward a more resilient and healthy reef.
In the Florida Keys and Caribbean, we have lost most of our dominant reef building corals since the late 1970s and early 1980s due to multiple stressors. More recently, Hurricane Irma came through the Florida Keys and has downed trees, hurled debris, and destroyed boats and homes. Coral reefs and other marine ecosystems such as mangroves protect our coastlines from natural disasters like this. Now, more than ever, it is important to conserve and restore our vital ecosystems. This is where Coral Restoration Foundation and our passionate team of volunteers come in.
As an organization, we are heavily dependent upon volunteers to help us carry out our work and we could use your help in saving the coral reefs. We are thankful to be partnered with the aquarium industry and to have individuals that care deeply about corals. It takes time and effort to monitor and care for growing corals in an aquarium and we put this same effort into growing, outplanting and monitoring the corals we place back on the reef. It is a delicate and complex system that has the potential to bounce back.
Coral reefs are the rainforest of the sea. Every day, scientists learn more and more about their beauty and wonder- from discovering new species to advancing applications in medicine. And we at CRF are working harder than ever to continue our operations in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Visit us on our website (www.coralrestoration.org) to support us and learn more about the work we do. As one of the leading organizations focused on coral restoration, we will continue fighting to inspire and to instill hope. We must all work together to protect what we love and care about.
My name is Shalimar Moreno and I’m currently a lead intern at Coral Restoration Foundation. This means that I have the opportunity to guide and mentor new interns in the many different aspects of the nonprofit world. I’m also able to work under different organizational programs to come up with my own projects, one of which is bringing back blogs in our Coral Chronicles. I hope this was interesting to read- you might see me around in our email newsletter!