Novel infrastructure for coral gardening and reefscaping

by Sebastian Schmidt-Roach, Carlos Duarte, ManuelAranda
Methods article Year: 2023 DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1110830


Schmidt-Roach S, Klaus R, Al- Suwailem AM, Prieto AR, Charrière J, Hauser CAE, Duarte CM and Aranda M (2023). Novel infrastructure for coral gardening and reefscaping. Front. Mar. Sci. 10:1110830. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1110830


Since 1950, coral abundance has declined worldwide by an estimated 60%, and further dramatic declines are predicted. Although global reductions in carbon emissions are essential to prevent further loss, coral reef restoration has become imperative to maintain the ecosystem services that coral reefs provide to humans at local scales. Yet, currently coral restoration and gardening efforts are too expensive to scale up due to the labor-intensive nature of the methods and low success rates. Here, we present a suite of technologies that improve coral reef restoration and rehabilitation’s scalability, efficiency, and effectiveness. Our modular technologies are designed to streamline in and ex situ nursery workflows, reduce maintenance times, solve problems in transporting corals to outplanting sites, and enable rapid outplanting on natural and artificial substrates. These novel structures can act as coral seeding hubs, which placed strategically, can have the capacity to enhance coral reproduction and replenish degraded nearby reefs with larvae. They can be applied to coral restoration and reefscaping, complemented by unique eco-friendly, low-carbon-emission structures for the creation of architecturally and visually appealing habitats and underwater landscapes. Our technologies integrate novel monitoring approaches that support intelligent solutions to track genotypes, optimize and control stock management, apply assisted evolution approaches, and adaptive management through long-term monitoring.