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How scientists are building stronger coral reefs faster than ever before

A new project in the Caribbean is starting to save coral reefs – and the world

The Ocean-Shot Project, led by climate scientist Dr Deborah Brosnan, was launched in 2021 to develop a “massive, first-of-its-kind” coral reef restoration initiative. caribbean Country Antigua and Barbuda.

“We lose more coral reefs in a day than we can restore in a decade,” Brosnan told CBS News. “Our progress toward protecting coral reefs — which ultimately protect us — is too slow. So Ocean-Shot is literally rebuilding reefs, architecting reefs, for the future.”

What sets this project apart from others? Coral Reef Restoration Project Its focus is – reef architecture. While many initiatives prioritize coral conservation, Ocean-Shot places an additional focus on creating the foundation for those corals to grow and thrive.


Ocean-Shot is growing more resilient coral species and developing reefs in the Caribbean in an effort to help marine ecosystems – and humanity – deal with the climate crisis.


The coral secretes calcium carbonate, forming a type of concrete around itself that becomes the structure of the reef. But that process could take “hundreds of thousands of years,” Brosnan said. and with Coral washing With global and ocean temperatures expected to intensify in the coming decades, this could be a problem the wall Must be able to recover that.

“What we’re doing is we’re saying, ‘Let’s learn from coral, let’s learn from nature,'” Brosnan said. “And let’s make it happen fast.”

To make this happen, his team is building reef structures in a lab and then planting them in the ocean, a process Brosnan likens to “gardening.” The team is planting “resilient coral” in structures that have already survived several bleaching events.


Ocean-Shot has installed a coral reef in the sea off Antigua and Barbuda, an effort that has already brought new marine life to the region.


About six months ago, his team deployed the first set of these structures, called modules, in the seas around Antigua and Barbuda. And it is already seeing significant success.

“97-98% of the corals we transplanted survived. And we now have 26 new species that have moved in on their own … everything from parrot fish to commercial fish to commercial lobster,” Brosnan said. “We saw that an entire ecosystem began to recognize these reefs as home and moved right in. So what this told us is that if we provide living structures, the ecosystem will respond in return.”

Brosnan said thriving coral reefs not only helps marine life thrive, but also helps humanity survive.

Coral reefs are essential for protecting coastlines from erosion, and when reefs are close to the ocean surface, Brosnan said they can break about 95% of incoming wave energy. This allows the energy of strong waves to break before they hit shore, protecting shorelines as well as beaches and making communities and coastlines more resilient. Read aloud And climate change, he said.

Coral reefs are an important source of food and income for more than half a billion people around the world, with the net economic value of reefs estimated to be “tens of billions of dollars per year,” according to NOAA.

Collaborating with billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria was an essential part of the project’s success, Brosnan said, as was the support of the country’s prime minister, Gaston Brown. With enough support, the project could be scaled up around the world, Brosnan said.

At the end of the day, Brosnan said, “our planet is at stake.”

“We’re helping the reef through this transformation of what our planet used to be, what it actually is today, and what it’s going to be in the future,” he said. “Corals are more resilient. If we create the right conditions for them, they will thrive.”

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