Restoring Coral Reefs


NOAA Restoration Center

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

NOAA State of the Coral Reef Ecosystem

The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems


NOAA Restoration Center

NOAA National Ocean Service

The Nature Conservancy Coral Restoration Foundation

Frazier Nivens

Nasa/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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NARRATOR: These beautiful coral reefs are in serious trouble.  They are being damaged or destroyed by pollution, disease, climate change, and a large number of ship groundings.

Staghorn and elkhorn coral have become threatened species.  These corals are the building blocks of reefs in the Caribbean and Florida Keys.

To address these issues, NOAA and its partners started a coral restoration effort. Using innovative techniques, like underwater coral farming and reattaching broken coral pieces, these projects transplant and restore thousands of coral colonies on damaged reef sites.

Trained scuba divers are given special permission to work on the reefs.  These divers transplant the new pieces of coral by using cement or epoxy putty. The goal is to restore the coral reef to allow the natural inhabitants a chance to thrive.

Scientists have found that the corals grown in the nurseries are able to reproduce in their new homes.  This means staghorn and elkhorn have a chance for a comeback.   It also means genetic diversity may be achieved along the reefs -- allowing for stronger and more resilient ecosystems in our ocean.

Since healthy coral is a vital part of the ocean environment, restoring reefs brings great benefits to the waters here and around the world.