Coral Reefs - the Rainforests of the Sea

AUTHOR: Michael Hennessy

Often called the "Rainforests of the Sea," coral reefs support over one-quarter of all marine species on the planet. Here in Costa Rica, we can easily relate to that. Unfortunately, another comparison to rainforests can be made. The planet's coral reefs are also highly threatened by climate change and human activity. 

An abundant amount of healthy coral has been recently documented at Cocos Island and Cano Island. As you move closer to the coastline, the population decreases dramatically. The number of corals found at Marino Ballena National Park used to be comparable to the islands, which no longer is the case. Rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, urban runoff, and other factors have had a negative impact.

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The natural establishment of coral is a slow process. The odds of a single coral larva successfully attaching to a reef are "1 in 1 million," and that is only once every 25 to 100 years! Given the rate of coral loss, compared to the length of time for replication, it would appear there is no chance to save this vital ecosystem. This is where Costa Rica Coral Restoration (CRCR) comes into the picture.

The initiative was founded by Michael Hennessy and Paul Dorr from Costa Rica Real Estate Service with Pablo Piedra and Laura Ruiz Madrigal from Mad About Diving. CRCR will be collaborating with MINAEMarino Ballena National Park AdministrationReserva Playa Tortuga, and Innoceana, to join the global movement to protect and restore coral reefs. 

By transplanting healthy coral fragments from aquariums to offshore nurseries, and eventually back onto degraded reefs, we can improve the odds of reestablishing a vibrant coral population back to the Ballena Coast. Every day we can see the positive benefits of reforestation programs on land, and our goal is to do the same in the ocean. Community outreach and educational programs will also be an essential aspect of our efforts.

We just received a catalyst grant from SOMOS Foundation to help get us started. We invite you to become involved! 

 

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