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Scuba Diver in Reef

Coral conservation

in Butler Bay

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Helping

brain corals reproduce

Many species of coral are in rapid decline. Due to the limited number of brain corals left, most corals are unable to create offspring. Why? Because corals are broadcast spawners, meaning each species releases eggs and sperm into the water once or twice a year. The fewer the number of corals left, the less chance that the eggs and sperm mix to form new corals and maintain genetic diversity. We use established methods to collect gametes during the spawning events of Diploria labyrinthiformis (grooved brain coral) and the result is millions of new coral larvae. We rear a few hundred and release the rest to the fate of the sea. 

Planting dislodged corals

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Many corals separate from the sea floor due to storms, bio-erosion (burrowing creatures), or break off due to impact from careless divers. We have relocated loose corals and planted them in a section of the reef where they are less susceptible to heat and sediment stress.

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increasing the extent of elkhorn coral

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Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) is an iconic and important species on shallow Caribbean reefs. It's branching structure provides a home to millions of reef creatures as well as protection to our island's shoreline. Elkhorn coral are becoming rare in areas where they were once prevalent. There are a few left in Butler Bay and we are increasing the number of corals through planting fragments from broken branches. 

wide-scale coral mapping & aerial monitoring

We are using an aerial vehicle (aka drone)  to take photos and capture environmental changes throughout Butler Bay. We are tracking coral bleaching events as well as the sediment that pours onto the reef from the adjacent roads. 

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interested in conducting marine science in the us virgin islands and sharing it with the local community?

Contact us about our scientist in residence program

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