Seed Funding Projects

In a rapidly changing world, the ability of coral reefs to respond, recover, and adapt to future challenges is essential to marine ecosystems and reef-dependent communities around the world. To achieve this, the Network has supported more than 1,250 coral reef managers from 66 countries and territories to attend in-person trainings and learning exchanges to gain experience in assessing the resilience of their reefs and receive expert mentorship on how to incorporate resilience concepts into local projects.

The Network awarded seed funding grants to 50 participants to accelerate the implementation of projects developed during Reef Resilience trainings. To date, over $95,000 has been allocated for on-the-ground projects around the world to support effective management and protection of coral reefs. To achieve this we’ve provide support for managers to complete projects that:

  • Build Skills of Coral Reef Professionals
  • Engage with Local Communities
  • Conduct Research to Inform Management
  • Implement Management Plans and Strategies

To learn more about seed funding projects, read success stories from Network Members below.

Building Skills of Coral Reef Professionals 

These projects equip provide information, tools, and strategies to enhance the skills of professionals working in coral reef conservation and enable them to incorporate resilience concepts into local management and boost the adaptive capacity of coral reef systems.

Manager Spotlight

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Darla White share how she used tools and resources from Reef Resilience Training of Trainers course to support her seed funding project.

Meet Darla White, Coral Reef Manager at Hawaii DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, Maui. She participated in the 2011 Pacific Islands Training of Trainer’s (TOT) workshop to learn about coral reef resilience management and build skills in workshop facilitation. After the TOT workshops, Darla and her partner, Eric Conklin, received a seed funding gran to lead 5 reef resilience workshops for Hawaiian islands, reaching 63 state marine managers, community marine resource managers, and scientists. Through these trainings, they brought new science and strategies to major agencies involved in coral reef management (NOAA, the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources) and several community management organizations on the 4 islands. Their wide-reaching trainings allowed major stakeholders to learn about reef resilience and it’s application in management plans, and helped align state and community management goals in the future.

 

Community  Engagement

These projects empower community members, stakeholders, and resource users to take a more active role in sustaining coral reefs and the services they provideand encourage  groups to participate in projects that improve reef resilience.

Manager Spotlight

Steven Johnson in Yap, Micronesia, conducting research.

Steven Johnson works with the Division of Environmental Quality in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). In 2011, he was a participant in the Pacific Islands Training of Trainer’s workshop. After this training, the Network awarded Steven a seed funding grant where he partnered with Steve McKagan, a Fisheries Biologist with NOAA, to lead a training in Saipan for 59 community members. Their training introduced participants to the key concepts of climate change, coral bleaching and resilience and trained them on how to conduct coral reef monitoring surveys, leading to an increase in public participation in bleaching monitoring programs in Saipan. During a 2013 bleaching event, there was an increase of reports of coral bleaching by the public as a result of participation in the trainings. In addition, as Steven worked to incorporate resilience principles into his work, he to connected with Dr. Jeffrey Maynard and conducted field research leading to a publication on resilience assessments in a major journal.

 

Research to Inform Management

These projects monitor the status and trends of coral reef systems through monitoring programs and assessments to best inform future management decisions. 

Manager Spotlight

Participants from Madagascar workshop. Credit @ WCS

Participants from Faly’s workshop in Madagascar. Photo @ WCS

Meet Bemahafaly (Faly) Randriamanantsoa. After attending a Reef Resilience training in Tanzania, recognized the needs to incorporate resilience principles into existing management plans in Madagascar. With support from a seed funding grant from the Network, Faly brought together 26 managers, fishermen, tourism operators, and other stakeholders in 2013 for a training about reef resilience, coral bleaching, and how managers can work to reduce impacts to coral ecosystems.

As a result, the group began to incorporate resilience principles and activities into five management plans for marine parks in Madagascar. Bemahafaly says, “Every year, they do monitoring and, step-by-step, they agree to incorporate additional resilience parameters.” The training greatly improved relationships between the managers. “Before the training,” Faly says, “they did not interact. After the training, we have connections. Since November 2013, they still continue until now with the communication and interconnection.”

The participants found such value in meeting together that they established a formal committee to monitor bleaching. Local community members who were part of the training continue to monitor the reefs for bleaching events during the annual warm-weather season. The group even set up a Facebook page to share information with one another across different sites. When impacts occur, from bleaching to destructive or illegal fishing, they communicate it on Facebook and work together to assess and address the impact.

 

Implementing Management Plans and Strategies

These projects focus on management planning and strategies to reduce impacts from local and global stressors and enhance reef resilience—for example, developing coral bleaching response plans, coral disease alert system, and invasive species management plans. 

Manager Spotlight

Yashika Nad presenting to participants during Fiji Reef Resilience Workshop.

Yashika Nand presenting to participants during Fiji Reef Resilience Workshop.

Meet Yashika Nand, marine scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji Project. She became involved in the Reef Resilience Network in 2011 when she was nominated by her team to participate in a Reef Resilience Training of Trainers (TOT) course to support their work on Fiji’s Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) network. During the TOT course, Yashika received training on resilient MPA network design, coral disease, and worked with experts to create a framework for a bleaching response plan that can be adapted to most communities.

After the TOT course, Yashika and her team hosted a 2-day Fiji Reef Resilience workshop for FLMMA partners and community representatives to introduce them to resilience principles and coral disease, train managers in adaptive management and develop site specific bleaching response plans. During the workshop, she used information on coral disease from the TOT course to introduce FLMMA partners and community representatives to coral disease. It was during this presentation, when FLMMA partners and community representatives recognized coral disease was effecting their reefs, raising concern and interest in learning more about the causes of coral disease in Fiji and how to manage it. After the workshop, 4 community representatives developed and implemented bleaching response plans for their districts adapted from the information and framework they learned from Yashika. In addition, FLMMA partners and community representatives held resilience trainings for other districts based on the information they learned at the workshop. Following the TOT course and the Fiji Reef Resilience workshop, Yashika was motivated to go back to school to get her Masters Degree after being introduced to coral disease at the TOT course. She spent the last four years at the University of the Pacific studying coral disease distribution in order to guide future management strategies.

Listen to the podcast below to hear Yashika Nand share highlights from her seed funding project and what inspired her to study coral disease.

 

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