Best Practice Coral Restoration for the Great Barrier Reef
In this project, researchers are working with coral reef experts from around the world to provide advice on best practice coral restoration for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The project, which is funded by NESP, is led by Dr Ian McLeod in collaboration with Dr Adam Smith (Reef Ecologic).
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.
In the first phase of the project, the team are compiling a review of coral restoration methods from around the world. This review encompasses the scientific literature, but also attempts to fill a critical knowledge gap by surveying restoration practitioners, and scouring the internet for descriptions of methods published in non-traditional channels. 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).
Ultimately the project aims to provide support for decision makers, coral reef managers and practitioners on best practice coral restoration methods.