Rapid Reef Restoration A CMR-CI Field Project

Coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate of 10% per decade. Our Clemson University creative inquiry team is trying to help restore the reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We are raising money to train our team members to conduct reef community surveys and to transplant coral fragments from local nurseries. Our goal is to help restore corals to the Florida Keys for future generations to enjoy.

Coral fragments from the FKNMS coral nursery are transplanted to local reefs by divers.

Each fragment is photographed four times a year to monitor growth and competition with other organisms.

Research divers measure substrate composition, coral bleaching, and fish abundance as well as water quality measures such as temperature, pH and salinity.

Divers also count and observe the feeding behaviors and territoriality of reef herbivores such as parrotfishes and damselfishes.

The CMR Team has been raising money to help offset the cost of this summer's coral restoration effort.

Keychains for Sale

The CMR team recently completed Phase I of the rapid reef restoration project during a week long visit the Keys Marine Laboratory.

For some of our team members, this was first time they ever visit a coral reef.

The team conducted surveys of the reef community and selected sites for our future coral transplants.

We then selected over 150 coral fragments of three different species from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary coral nursery.

The coral were carefully packed for shipping to the Keys Marine Laboratory.

Team members measured and recorded the status of each coral fragment.

Fragments were placed in running seawater wet tables awaiting our return this summer to begin Phase II - the transplantation to the reef.

These transplants will allow us to test our predictive model where coral restoration will be most successful.

Can't wait to get back in the water

Thank you for your support

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Photos by Michael Childress

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