Episode 302: Reef Revival
In the emerging science of coral reef restoration, marine biologists and resource managers are discovering naturally occurring mechanisms that promote coral growth and restore ecological balance in these gardens of the sea.
Since the late 1970s close to 98% of Staghorn and Elkhorn corals have disappeared from reefs in Florida and the Caribbean. Around the world, damage from boat groundings and other factors have placed these organisms on the “threatened” list of the Endangered Species Act. Staghorn and Elkhorn are considered principal reef building corals. In South Florida, scientists are using native sponges and spiny sea urchins in novel ways that may help attract corals to damaged sites. Can nature heal itself with a little help from marine experts? Can new technologies help restore the lost coral communities?
Meet the experts featured in this episode.
"Reef Revival" Web Extra # 1
Scientists in Biscayne National Park are working on innovative methods to restore corals that were damaged during a boat grounding. Watch Park biologist Amanda Bourque as she explains parts of the restoration effort during an "in-water" conversation with producer Mark Baker.
"Reef Revival" Web Extra # 2
Dive in and join Ken Nedimyer on an exciting tour of his coral reef nursery in Key Largo. Nedimyer, and his Coral Restoration Foundation, are working on a new and exciting technique to grow out staghorn coral cuttings on hanging lines before they are transplanted on a reef restoration site.
"Reef Revival" Web Extra # 3
Marine Biologist Martin Moe explains the urgent need to return ecological balance to Florida and Caribbean coral reefs by restoring populations of the once abundant spiny black sea urchins, the principle algae grazers on the reefs.