To help increase the scale and efficiency of coral restoration, the Coral Restoration Consortium (CRC) is focusing on the following topical priorities for the next three to five years. 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

Working Groups have been formed to develop solutions-oriented action plans and to help establish best management practices. Each working group has two levels of participation — a “core” group of ~10 experts, researchers, scientists, and professionals that work on coral research or restoration daily and are dedicated to achieving working group priorities within a 3-5 year time frame, and a “broad interest group” that is interested in the progress and results of working group activities. Core working group members may meet virtually as often as twice per month, and in-person once per year, whereas the “broad interest group”, is invited to join quarterly calls (4x/yr) wherein the “core” group will report out, questions can be answered, needs from the field can be shared.

Participants can sign up for as many working groups as are of interest. Calls will rotate among the working groups every other Thursdays at 2pm ET starting on September 7th. The details for the first round of calls are as follows:

  • Coral Genetics Working Group – September 7th, 2:00pm EDT
  • Field-Based Propagation Working Group – September 21st, 2:00pm EDT
  • Land Based Propagation Working Group – October 5th, 2:00pm EDT
  • Restoration Monitoring Working Group – October 19th, 2:00pm EDT
  • Demonstration Projects Working Group – November 2nd, 2:00pm EDT
  • Larval Propagation Working Group – November 16th, 2:00pm EDT

Sign up here if you are interested in joining Working Groups

Working Groups Descriptions

Scaling Up In-Water Propagation Working Group

The In-Water Propagation Working Group was established to find and promote innovative and actionable ways to increase the efficiency and scale of propagating and outplanting corals. The initial focus of this group is to openly share ideas and advances in new techniques focusing on fast-growing, branching acroporid corals. The Coral Restoration Consortium steering committee and working group members have defined the following priorities for this group:

  • Update best practices manual for nursery and outplanting propagation
  • Identify the science needed to support scaling up efforts
  • Develop, design, and implement ideas for increasing outplanting efficiency

 

Scaling-Up Land Based Propagation Working Group

Land based propagation has become a critical tool in scaling-up efforts toward coral reef ecosystem restoration. This working group was formed to further the knowledge base, provide channels for communication, and ultimately, help to speed up the learning curve and restoration impact of land based nurseries. The ultimate goal is to increase the efficiency and scale of coral restoration by establishing self-sustaining, genetically diverse, sexually reproductive populations of key species of framework-building and threatened corals. The Coral Restoration Consortium steering committee and working group members have defined the following priorities for the group:

  • Develop a recommendations manual for optimizing conditions, and as a tool for new operations
  • Develop standards to be used in depositing species and genotypes into land based nurseries
  • Standardize chain of title and health assessment protocols for outplanting
  • Organize training workshops
  • Advance techniques for land based sexual reproduction
  • Develop legal, BMP, and risk management protocols for the transport of adult corals and cryopreserved gametes across geopolitical lines

 

Scaling Up Larval Propagation Working Group

Outplanting sexually propagated corals is a recent technique aimed at increasing coral cover on degraded reefs, while preserving genetic variation within recipient populations. While this approach is increasingly successful, several challenges currently prevent its application on large scales. That is foremost due to the high mortality rates of sexually reared recruits after they are outplanted (i.e., typically less than 5% of cultured recruits survive passed the age of one year). Research on processes affecting coral recruits after outplanting is this WG’s top priority. Additional objectives are further integrated to help up-scale larval propagation efforts. The Coral Restoration Consortium steering committee and WG members have defined the following priorities for the group:

  • Improve post-settlement survival of outplanted sexual recruits to increase the effectiveness of this approach
  • Develop a coordinated breeding program that will set best practices to successfully collect gametes, rear and settle coral larvae, and outplant sexual recruits (sexual coral restoration manual/“stud book”)
  • Broaden the number of species targeted for restoration to increase research opportunities throughout the year (e.g., brain corals, brooders), and to address restoration at a coral community level rather than at a species-specific level
  • Expand the number of locations that conduct larval propagation work
  • Develop new technologies to enable mass rearing and settlement of coral larvae as well as efficient outplanting to increase the cost-effectiveness of this approach (once we have tackled the “post-settlement bottleneck”)

 

Demonstration Projects Working Group

The main priorities of this group are to develop guidelines and gather concrete quantitative evidence that coral restoration can be a viable and long-term strategy for restoring the ecosystem services associated with coral reefs, especially with regards to coastal protection, fisheries, tourism and biodiversity conservation. Guidelines will be developed to help practitioners implement successful coral restoration projects and to encourage the use of standard monitoring metrics so that comparisons can be made between sites.

 

Coral Genetics Working Group

The Coral Genetics Working Group’s aim is to develop recommendations on several issues related to coral genetics, for example:

  • guidelines on how to characterize out-planted genotypes
  • a clearinghouse of genotypic information on outplants
  • quantitative recommendations on how to maintain and enhance genetic diversity over a given geographic region

 

Restoration Monitoring Working Group

Monitoring coral restoration efforts is essential to promote effective restoration techniques and to quantify success. In this working group, we ask the following questions. How do we efficiently scale up restoration monitoring? What are the data needed to determine success (or failure) of restoration efforts? The Coral Restoration Consortium steering committee and working group members have defined the following priorities for the group:

  • Develop or adapt existing protocols to formulate a best practices or guidelines document for monitoring coral restoration projects. This will be a reference for practitioners, managers, and scientists. Guidelines will be developed in different tiers from the colony level to the reef, and ecosystem levels
  • Identify program monitoring and metrics to address what makes a restoration program successful
  • Identify remote monitoring techniques (e.g. orbital, manned aerial, and drones) that can be widely adopted, and help CRC members develop the capacity for implementation
  • Identify geographic locations where restoration efforts are taking place, and relate to geographic locations of ecosystem monitoring efforts
  • Facilitate the development of an open access shared database of restoration monitoring data

Sign up for the CRC email list to receive information on how to join Working Groups.

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Last updated November 8, 2017

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