Despite being among the world’s lowest carbon emitters, the islands of the Caribbean are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Looking at the condition of coral throughout the Caribbean, it is clear that sea level rise and increased water temperatures are taking their toll. These corals are the lifeblood of the Caribbean Sea—sustaining fisheries, protecting coastlines and supporting a prosperous tourism industry. With nearly 8,000 square miles of coral reefs, approximately 10% of coral reefs on the planet, the Caribbean Sea supports m
To help restore damaged reefs with resilient specimens of corals, the Conservancy received funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to install underwater coral nurseries in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida. The Conservancy’s US Virgin Islands Coral Restoration Program established underwater coral nurseries on St. Croix and St. Thomas to regenerate two endangered reef-building coral species – elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (Acropora cervicornis). In a win-win situation, fragments of these endangered coral species naturally broken from a reef by storms or waves are rescued and replicated in the underwater coral nurseries. To date, we have raised more than 2,500 individual elkhorn and staghorn coral colonies in four nurseries. In 2012, Conservancy scientists transplanted – or outplanted - over 1,000 of those to carefully selected reef sites around the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Through careful monitoring, genetic analysis and experiments on nursery and restoration techniques, scientific knowledge –and nursery efficiency and productivity – will grow and lead to coral restoration becoming a viable coral conservation strategy for countries throughout the Caribbean Sea; helping strengthen coral reefs as they struggle to adapt to Global Climate Change.
The real results of the USVI Coral Restoration Program will be realized years from now; when outplanted corals mature and reproduce and reefs restoration is well underway.
Gathering for a good cause in May 2013.
Reusable bags can make a difference in the Caribbean and around the world.
Find out how we're helping sea turtles in the US Virgin Islands.
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See pictures of our science team and partners in action—under water!
In the US Virgin Islands the Conservancy is restoring coral reefs damaged by climate change and other impacts with nursery-grown endangered corals.