The reef needs our help...
Coral reefs are increasingly under threat from anthropogenic disturbances, and live coral cover has been declining around the globe for the past decades. Halting this trend will require a multi-faceted approach across several scales using a wide variety of responses. Large-scale solutions like curbing climate change, improving water quality and reducing pollutants in oceans are critical for the persistence of coral reefs. However, these tend to be slow to implement and require large-scale commitment at the government level. This has led to a growing interest in direct interventions on coral reefs, in particular outside the scientific community. Citizen scientists, tourism operators and NGO’s have implemented hundreds of small-scale coral restoration projects around the world’s coral reefs, often with very little financial backing or scientific support. This disconnect between the scientific community and coral restoration practitioners represents a lost opportunity for both groups.
Our project 'Best Practice Coral Restoration for the Great Barrier Reef' is funded by the National Environmental Science Program (NESP), and is a collaboration between James Cook University and Reef Ecologic.
Science to the rescue...
Researchers at James Cook University are working with coral reef experts from around the world in a project which aims to provide advice on best practice coral restoration for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The first step is a global review of what has worked overseas. We review the current scientific literature describing coral restoration methods, survey coral restoration practitioners and scour the internet for descriptions of methods published in non-traditional channels. We aim to make this information widely available in a format that is useful to restoration practitioners and coral reef managers alike.
In the second phase of the project, we put this information through a filtering expert working group to discuss and categorise existing coral restoration methods and assess their suitability for local scale restoration on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).
Have you been actively involved in a coral restoration project? We would love to hear from you! Fill out our survey here.
See media articles and communication to date regarding our project, and projects we are affiliated with here.
Meet the team...
Project leader - Dr Ian McLeod
Ian is a marine scientist, science communicator and environmental manager with 15 years of relevant experience spanning research, leadership, governance, consulting and environmental advocacy. His experience research interests are multi-disciplinary and focussed on coastal habitat restoration. Ian is passionate about leading applied projects in partnership with governance organisations, local stakeholders, community groups and Traditional Owners that lead to positive real-world change.
Co-leader - Dr Adam Smith
Adam is a dedicated scientist, manager and leader who has a life long commitment to the marine environment and a vision to make a positive difference for current and future generations. Adam has almost 30 years experience in research, management and leadership, including 15 years with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. In addition, Adam runs the Reef Recovery project that is investigating the effect of algae removal from degraded Magnetic Island reefs.
Dr David Bourne is a microbiologist focused on understanding microbial interactions with corals. David is supporting multiple aspects of the project with his coral ecology expertise, and through his involvement with Earthwatch hopes to include citizen scientists in coral restoration trials and monitoring.
Professor Peter Harrison is a recognised leader in coral reproduction ecology. He has successfully led coral reproduction research in the Philippines and Australia over the past 5 years. In this project, Peter is continuing his trials of larval enhancement of corals (Acropora) as a restoration tool.
Dr Boze Hancock is The Nature Conservancy’s lead Marine Restoration Scientist in their Global Marine Team. Previously, he was the Coordinator for the TNC-NOAA Community-based Restoration Partnership and has had led or been involved in numerous coral restoration projects around the world.
Dr Lisa Boström-Einarsson is a marine ecologist interested in the ecological effects of disturbances on coral reefs. In this project, Lisa is leading the review on coral restoration methods, focusing on the scientific literature.
Nathan Cook is an applied scientist and specialist in coral reef restoration and capacity building. In this project, Nathan is collecting data from coral restoration practitioners and advising ongoing restoration projects on the GBR.
Margaux Hein's research focus is coral reef conservation with a focus on active coral reef restoration. In this project, Margaux provides her expertise to the review on coral restoration methods, and advises on ongoing restoration projects.
Professor Geoff Jones is a well-established scientist in the fields of marine ecology and tropical marine conservation. In this project Geoff is focusing on the effects of coral restoration on reef fish communities.
It takes a world...
We are working in close collaboration with an international team of experts to ensure we are accessing the best information and talking to the best people in the field. Click through to see how these organisations are getting involved in coral restoration.