We came across this article this morning and thought it was worth reposting. However, if we wait the years needed to complete the map we will lose countless reefs. The facts are that something needs to be done now!
Let me tell you a little story before you read the article, a story where coral reefs could be saved immediately. Not too long ago and in this galaxy on June 28th, 2016 in Santa Rosa, California a nonprofit organization, Pirate’s Coral was born with a mission to save the oceans coral and reef from extinction. Founder and CEO, Chad Strader, has a plan to change the way we are going to save the oceans coral and reef around the world.
Almost 26 months later, Pirate’s Coral has initiated several patents to save the dying coral reef with its unique process. Pirate’s Coral starts by obtaining the PH and temperature levels of the coral distressed area where their sanctuary will be placed. Coral fragments are taken and placed in Pirate’s Coral nursery tanks where scientists slowly alter the PH and temperature levels, both above and below the targeted levels so the coral will not die when the levels vary due to climate changes.
In addition to manipulating the PH and temperature levels that the coral will thrive in, Pirate’s Coral uses a patented tri-metal process in its nursery tanks that increases the coral growth rate up to 20+ times what is seen in nature, thus creating a productive coral reef in as little as a year instead of the normal 15-20 years.
Once the nursery coral is productive and healthy it is transplanted onto a Pirate’s Coral sanctuary that has been placed in the coral reef area needing rebuilding or restoring. These sanctuaries can be an environmentally cleaned vessel, or a sanctuary specifically built for that coral distressed area. All sanctuaries are modified with reinforced environmentally safe material and infused with bio-rock specifically designed to support an ideal reef ecosystem. Chad Strader, Founder and CEO of Pirate’s Coral says, “We need to rebuild and repair our coral reef ecosystems now before they become extinct. Pirate’s Coral can help.”
Recently, the Australian government funded the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) over 400 million dollars to help rebuild and repair the distressed Great Barrier Reef. Pirate’s Coral has expressed interest in the project and recently received notification that they will be introduced to the GBRF committee later this year.
Pirate’s Coral is currently working with entities in Southern California and Florida, bringing their ideas on how the coral reef can be saved or sustained in those areas. Pirate’s Coral has a unique process on saving the oceans coral and reef and is confident this process will be successful. However, in order to accelerate the impact Pirate’s Coral can have by rebuilding and restoring the distressed coral reefs they will need the support of donors and sponsors to achieve this goal and document the successes.
With that said here is the story of mapping the coral reef…
Scientists are using a cool new technology to map coral and figure out which types can withstand warmer oceans and climate change.
There is no comprehensive map of the world’s coral reefs. And that’s a problem because these ecosystems are some of the most important on the planet: they house a huge percentage of the ocean’s species, they absorb 70 percent of the wave energy coming to shore, and they attract $37 billion worth of tourism every year.
They are also in grave danger. As the climate warms, the oceans are absorbing much of that heat—which in turn makes the water more acidic, which causes coral bleaching (a state that makes them vulnerable to dying off). To better understand the state of the world’s coral, the Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that works to preserve land and water under threat around the world, is using a new technology to image and map all the coral reefs in the world.
“We are always crying out: corals, corals, corals are in bad shape! But we don’t have very good maps. When you see a map it’s the kind of map you use for navigation so ships won’t run aground. They look like little clouds. But when you go diving you see a coral reef is way more complicated than that. Information at that level of detail only exists when scientists go diving, do transects, and measure the field. But we are limited by our diving capabilities and time,” says Luis Solórzano, Executive Director for The Nature Conservancy in the Caribbean.
Starting in the Caribbean, the goal is to create a comprehensive baseline of the world’s reefs. Specifically, they want to map which species live in each reef so they can better understand which ones are surviving the warming climate and which ones are dying off. They are doing this with a special technology developed by Greg Asner. Called the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), the device has four sensors: two different spectrometers, a camera, and a wLIDAR scanner. Flying the CAO over the corals, Asner is able to capture the chemical fingerprint and composition of what is living below the surface of the water.
Once the data is collected, it is compared to satellite images, drone footage, drop cameras (which take underwater images), and data gathered by SCUBA divers. Solórzano says that the divers, specifically, can help pair species names with the chemical signatures picked up by the CAO. “When you go down there and measure it exactly, you can identify what different signatures you’re seeing: that’s sand, that’s a reef covered by algae,” he says. In this way the technology can be trained to identify exactly what it’s seeing.
The Caribbean is just the first step in a series of flights that will map and categorize reef systems all over the world. Solórzano says this should be accomplished in no more than two-and-a-half to three years. The maps will then be used to create plans for preservation, protection, and restoration of reefs. “Imagine if you need to design network of marine protected areas. That map is essential,” he says.
He also notes that in the Caribbean, the plan is to begin physically restoring coral reefs by using the maps to show them which corals are most stable in the changing ocean. Once the Caribbean map is made, they will begin taking corals from the water, growing them on land, reproducing new ones in their nurseries, and then returning them to ocean. “You want to put back into the water those that are resistant. We’re going to do that for the first time,” he says. “We’re are learning how to do it.”
Restoring corals on land and returning them to the sea isn’t exactly a new idea. The University of Miami, for example, has been running The Coral Restoration Project, in which they’re using nurseries to propagate staghorn coral, since the 1970s. But it is a program that is gaining steam—and becoming increasingly more essential as scientists are beginning to suggest that the die-off of coral reefs around the world could be indicating an extinction event. “Corals are one of the most important systems in the global oceans. Globally they provide food and livelihood to more than 500 million people,” Solórzano says. “They have gone through global extinctions in the past and it seems like we’re about to push them to another.” But hopefully with the combination of our new global maps and restoration projects like those from the Nature Conservancy we can keep them healthy for as long as possible.
Story source: ThgeDailyBeast.com