Coral Reefs 

The Problem   ​

 

The Climate Change and Coral Reefs working group at the Center for Ocean Solutions, internationally respected  collaborative, scientific research group out of California, ​studies the impact of rising temperatures, ocean acidification and sea-level rise on coral reefs. During July 2011 through July 2013, the working group drafted a message: 

"The working group concluded that vast agreement exists among reef scientists about the importance, magnitude, and sources of many of the problems that face coral reefs around the world. Through extensive discussions about coral adaptation, biogeochemistry, calcification, and population dynamics in the face of multiple co-occurring stressors, the group concluded that sufficient understanding exists to voice a clear message. Due to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases—in combination with local stresses such as pollution, run-off from land, habitat destruction, and overfishing—coral growth and vitality are compromised and less resilient to further pressures. Ultimately reef preservation requires immediate and strong actions at both global and local scales. While global emissions are the primary driver, the critical message is that action at the local level can substantially reduce vulnerability of reefs to climate change impacts." 

- Center for Ocean Solutions 

Why should Coral Reefs be protected?

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  • They are among the oldest ecosystems on Earth

  • They support a great diversity of species

  • Provide sources of food and shelter

  • Ecosystems support a variety of human needs: subsistence, fisheries, tourism, coastal protection and new drug compounds (HIV, cardiovascular diseases, etc.)

  • They form natural barriers that protect the coasts against erosion

  • They cover less than 1% of the Earth's surface but contain 25% of marine fish species (Burke et al., 1998)

  • At least 500 million people rely on coral reefs for food, coastal protection and livelihoods (Wilkinson 2004)

  • They provide about $ 375 billion per year worldwide in goods and services

  • About 20% of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed in recent decades and 20% or more are severely degraded (WRI 2006)

 

A Solution: Coral Propagation 

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C​onservation initiatives all over the world are trying to restore coral reefs by breeding coral specimens to be out-planted in regenerating reefs. Nature Now visited and worked with Costa Rican Non-Profit, Raising Coral, to learn more. 

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Danielle Berkowitz, Daviana Berkowitz coral reefs
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Fish Surveying ​

 

—Contributing to REEF’s online database, from which a variety of reports can be generated on species distribution and population trends, for a specific reef or large geographic regions.

Students trained to conduct Roving Diver Technique (RDT), a visual survey method while snorkeling to classify reef fish and turtles, entered into REEF.org.

 

REEF is an international online database. Training by Fabian scuba diver, Fabián Castillo Baldares, Centro de Aventura Oceánica. 

Enter in international REEF.org database

Advisor: Jorge Cortes, Professor of Biology, Research Center of Marine Sciences and Limnology, University of Costa Rica. 

Daviana Berkowitz and Danielle Berkowitz with Dr. Cortés from University of Costa Rica

Sample data gathered in Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Students present Coral Reef Project at student eco-conference