Living Reef Foundation Coral Garden Adoption
11th Hour Racing has adopted…. a coral garden!
Living Reefs, a Bermuda Registered Charity, was formed in 2014 to help coral restoration in Bermuda, ensure its sustainability by engaging tourism, scientific experts, and Bermuda’s youth; and expand the scope of available coral restoration know-how in the Caribbean.
By “Adopting a Coral Garden” through Living Reefs, 11th Hour Racing will follow the journey of these fascinating organisms from the initial planting on a frame to final installation in Bermuda’s recovering reefs and beyond.
Living Reefs has partnered with resident coral expert, Dr. Samantha de Putron at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) to conduct coral culture and garden set up and upkeep with the support of University student interns. BIOS is an internationally recognized research institute and hosts a well-established education program attracting students locally and worldwide.
The Coral Garden Project by Living Reefs is unique and differs from other Caribbean initiatives, in that it incorporates larval production by corals, as well as reliance on fragmentation techniques to grow new corals. Fragmentation is most used in existing restoration programs; however, these are not only unsustainable as they require the breaking of colonies, but in the long term decrease the resilience of coral reefs to environmental change as fragments will have the same genetic pool as parent colonies. By incorporating larval coral production with fragmentation, it enables the restoration of other non-branching species of corals, enhancing biodiversity in restoration and long term coral recruitment.
Guests at Bermuda’s luxury resort Tucker’s Point, can “Adopt a Coral Garden” while on vacation. Using state-of-the art coral reef restoration techniques, frames are installed at the doorstep of guest accommodations, forming the basis of the newly established coral garden; young corals are cemented on these frames, and colonize the garden as they grow and reproduce. Visitors who “Adopt a Coral Garden” help with the initial care of young corals cemented to the frames by removal of sediment and algae by routinely brushing the surface of the frame and cement around the coral in order to maintain health and growth until they become well established – in doing so guests become unique environmental stewards of Bermuda’s reefs. A “Kiddie Coral Garden” will also provide children under 8 a means to tend to their garden including an additional “reef explorer” activity offered by the hotel.
Engagement with Bermuda’s youth will be through the preservation of the reef gardens by conducting routine maintenance by University interns, who will closely monitor the gardens; Bermudian students (15-18) from Ocean Academy-BIOS and from the SEA education group (Fantasea Diving), will provide seasonal assistance as part of their introduction to Bermuda’s marine environment.
The Living Reefs Foundation recently launched the coral gardens project at a party at Tucker’s Point resort. The party included a silent auction, which Land Rover BAR donated a signed t-shirt for, contributing to the fundraising needed to officially start the project.
Now that the project has launched the hard work begins. The 11th Hour Racing coral garden will be planted soon at Tucker’s Point, we look forward to following its progress!
Photos © Reefscapers