Introduction to R2R

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The Reef Institute

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Welcome to Reef2Reef! Amazing work you're doing, will be following along to watch you guys grow! How do you stay afloat financially? Do you take donations?
We stay afloat with grants, foundations, and donations, also with personal snorkeling tours, and providing education to schools. We do accept donations through our website if you would like to donate (links below).


 
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The Reef Institute

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This is just amazing! I spent 5 years working at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center in Buford, Ga.
There is no greater joy than having the opportunity to empower the generations to come to welcome the responsibility of being caretakers for Mother Earth.
God bless all that you do! We'll certainly be following along.
I am on the other coast. Curious, how do you feel the cruise industry has impacted our local reefs? Have you been able to detect any short term improvements since Covid-19 put a choke hold on the cruise industry?
Dredging to make room for the cruise ships, when it hasn't been done well can be damaging to reefs. There are some issues in the Bahamas as a result of this, and ships creating "exclusive" islands. The upside is to see a reef in an excursion, can inspire someone to take better care of it. In Florida SCTLD is not cruise related, and that is what is hurting our reefs. So, I would say that we haven't seen any sort of upside from less cruise ships.
 
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Welcome!

I have two questions, probably you get these all the time.

1. What are you all finding is the leading cause of reef destruction specifically in FL.

2. What can we as hobbyist do ?
In Florida a disease called Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease has been ravaging our reef tract since 2014. It affects more than 20 of of 45 reef building species in Florida. It has brought our coral coral coverage to about 5%. When a colony gets ill it can be totally gone within months or even weeks. The exact cause of the pathogen is unknown. However, there is research showing affected colonies are responding to probiotics. Additionally, human impact in the form of the way we care for our oceans, and reefs are a cause for their decline.

2. Great Question! A simple thing we can all do is change our sunscreen. I have attached some information, on the way we can change our sunscreen usage. We can all think about the way we get rid of our trash, and recycle. As you build out your tank be aware of where your coral comes from. Help others understand the ways reefs sustain economies of nations near them. It is estimated that $375 billion each year globally comes from different finances associated with coral reefs. As corny as it sounds, support non profits that are actively not just researching causes of why reefs are dying, but are doing the hard work to rebuild and protect them. Like ours, there are many around the globe.
 

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HM3105

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In Florida a disease called Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease has been ravaging our reef tract since 2014. It affects more than 20 of of 45 reef building species in Florida. It has brought our coral coral coverage to about 5%. When a colony gets ill it can be totally gone within months or even weeks. The exact cause of the pathogen is unknown. However, there is research showing affected colonies are responding to probiotics. Additionally, human impact in the form of the way we care for our oceans, and reefs are a cause for their decline.

2. Great Question! A simple thing we can all do is change our sunscreen. I have attached some information, on the way we can change our sunscreen usage. We can all think about the way we get rid of our trash, and recycle. As you build out your tank be aware of where your coral comes from. Help others understand the ways reefs sustain economies of nations near them. It is estimated that $375 billion each year globally comes from different finances associated with coral reefs. As corny as it sounds, support non profits that are actively not just researching causes of why reefs are dying, but are doing the hard work to rebuild and protect them. Like ours, there are many around the globe.
Very informative, thank you!
 
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Welcome all! Glad to have you hear. I’m wondering how you think you mission will have changed by the year 2050. Seems like the reefing hobby has been changing drastically over the last decade. I wonder how the science is changing.
As you know it is estimated that 90% of our reefs will be eradicated by 2050 if we don't do something! I believe that our mission will focus much more on restoration in the future. Our work with artificial reefs is for intentional design to help bolster and connect healthy reefs. It is also working to spawn coral inland, with a goal to out plant these juveniles in the ocean. Much of this work is currently in the infant stages. I estimate in the next 25-30 years we will have refined these practices. Our hope is that we will have been using inland spawning, fragging, and artificial reefs to save our reefs. I think we will continue to focus on conservation, but it will be a growing effort to save our reefs in a large scale model.
 
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Welcome to Reef2reef and glad to have a great conservationist here on the forums. It seems your organizations main focus is on SPS corals. Is there any plans to try and introduce SPS that do well in other parts of the world that maybe do not already exists in the area? I always wonder how we in home reefs have such a diverse tank populous of corals from around the world and they seemingly thrive together and if it is possible to introduce other non native species that may do well in the area, or is it seen more as keep it natural and not introduce non native corals?
Hi! We can not reintroduce Pacific corals into the Caribbean. In a concentrated area like home aquariums they can live together, and we can take care to ensure no one species takes control. In nature they can take over, and potentially become invasive. When a species (any species) becomes invasive they they can potentially squeeze out the native species. For example Sun or Cup Corals are considered invasive in Florida. It is estimated they may have travelled in on ships from the Pacific. In the States the security of even moving native species from inland to ocean, is very tight. We have to separate out all of our Pacific animals (including corals) from our Caribbean. Instead, we want to spawn, and frag native corals to put more out in the ocean.
 
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Hidey HO there Neighbor
I did not know you could adopt a coral outside of a live sale platform!
Hi! So our adopt a coral program does not give you a "live" coral. Instead, you are adopting one of the corals we have rescued from the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, and are helping us to take care of it. While we can not put them back in the ocean quite yet, the goal is to do that soon!
 
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Welcome to Reef2Reef! I am very happy you all are taking time out of your otherwise busy lives to make this project work! I was wondering if you could explain the coralbank that your website says yall are a part of. Is the group only doing Florida corals or are yall grouped together we groups from around the world? Thanks! And welcome again!
Hi! The coral gene banking project with the Florida Coral Rescue Project. Not we are not able to hold corals from other parts of the world. Since the Florida Reef Tract is the only barrier reef off of the Continental US, the biosecurity in the way corals are held are high in the states. I am sure you have seen the biobank that they are building in Australia to house corals to ensure genetics are not lost. For us since the hope is to spawn, frag and out plant we can not have any non local species growing together. https://www.theguardian.com/environ...s-for-coral-ark-to-help-save-the-worlds-reefs
 
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Hey Reef Institute! Welcome. I'm pretty new myself. I love that you teach children about the importance of corals. How is that in operation? Are you currently just regional in Florida? I think you could really benefit right now the effects of all this online stuff (effects of covid, distancing etc.) I think if there was a maybe an interactive way to engage children all over the country not just regionally it could be great.

Like dude think Farmville but Coralville lol.

So do you currently just have small setups at your location for kids to take field trips, and you come visit the classroom? Wondering how to incorporate a way to have games/media/videos/education involved.

Thank you for your efforts,

Jon
Hey Jon-

YES! We are in the process of updating our website to show the full scope of our offering. We offer virtual field trips, one time online lessons, and then 8 and 10 week programs that involve full curriculum for either a classroom teacher or a homeschool group. We are looking to launch this full scope to market beyond Florida soon.

Due to our biosecurity with our research we actually can't have groups visit us in person, so we have begun interactive, online experiences. We build classes around the needs of those who would like to visit.

Before Covid we did "onsite field trips" where we would bring about 6-7 bio cubes and small tanks, along with touch tanks to set up in classrooms to teach about the life around a reef :)

Would love any other ideas you might have, or how to get this out to the public. Keep the ideas coming!
 
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Welcome, can't wait to see a picture of my adopted coral. It's nice to now have something golfball sized in the water that I didn't hit into it myself...

Edit: What do you do with the invasive species that you come accross in your dives? (noticed a post about sun coral on your instagram)
Hey!

I am working to get all the pictures take and out to everyone in the next week! Excited to share! The sun coral is everywhere here, so for now we are monitoring it's growth.
 

leaheva04

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Hi guys so glad you guys are here and that you guys are starting the knowledge with kids that’s just amazing I think that’s where it needs to start so they can grow up knowing the causes and effects off the harms to the reefs I am so glad to get the incredible knowledge from you guys welcome to R2R
 

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Yes! Did you know that Dry Tortugas is the only area that currently has not seen Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease? Gorgeous!
Yes! Did you know that Dry Tortugas is the only area that currently has not seen Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease? Gorgeous!
Is it true that the Red Sea corals are much more resistant to global warming? I have done some research on it and there have been high temps there that they survived in the past so my theory is that somewhere in their genes they know how to deal with global warming unlike coral from other places. So i think the Red Sea reefs with not loose nearly as much coral. Do you agree with this? Is the information I have gathered right or wrong?
 
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I am curious that as I read you were able to get some of the surviving corals from the dying areas, is it that each species of coral has slightly different genes that let them survive or are these the surviving species while many others were lost along with the coral diversity? I also saw adopt a coral comment and will look into that maybe from friends as a present for my birthday.
Yes that is exactly how things are working out. It's natural selection and the surviving corals in the environment are genetically more resistant to disease, changing chemistry, predation, etc. It's these formidable corals which are now getting looked at very closely by scientists to understand what makes them survivors. It's also a valuable avenue to pursue for coral aquaculture for restoration. We want to amplify the strongest corals to potentially put back out into the environment when things "settle down" out there. We do need to make sure to maintain genetic diversity and so a million clones of the same formidable coral would be neat but not ideal for the ongoing natural survival of a species. Future restoration is a balance of amplifying a bunch of lineages of genetically durable coral withina species, possibly sexually reproducing these in a breeding program, and amplifying and out-planting those offspring/frags strategically for natural "gene mixing" in the future.
 
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Is it true that the Red Sea corals are much more resistant to global warming? I have done some research on it and there have been high temps there that they survived in the past so my theory is that somewhere in their genes they know how to deal with global warming unlike coral from other places. So i think the Red Sea reefs with not loose nearly as much coral. Do you agree with this? Is the information I have gathered right or wrong?
The corals which researchers are finding to be most resilient to future uncertainty seem to be corals that have settled and survived more volatile environments. When corals settle in a shallow lagoon where temperature and oxygen can swing dramatically, only the toughest lineages may survive. The Red Sea is hot and salty relative to the rest of the ocean however it may be relatively constant as a large body of water. If we wanted to find extremely temperature resilient corals, we might look in shallow low flow area's of the red sea where temperature limits are pushed and corals are selected for survival under a wide temperature range including both hot and cold extremes.
 
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Welcome to Reef2reef and glad to have a great conservationist here on the forums. It seems your organizations main focus is on SPS corals. Is there any plans to try and introduce SPS that do well in other parts of the world that maybe do not already exists in the area? I always wonder how we in home reefs have such a diverse tank populous of corals from around the world and they seemingly thrive together and if it is possible to introduce other non native species that may do well in the area, or is it seen more as keep it natural and not introduce non native corals?
Imagine pacific acropora sp. in the keys! For the foreseeable future the general scientific and political consensus is to keep things as natural as possible and only restore/maintain natural endemic species of coral. There's a lot of unfortunate instances of unintended consequences when introducing a foreign species into a new environment. For example, We currently have lionfish and iguana's creating imbalances in the Florida ecosystem.
 

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Imagine pacific acropora sp. in the keys! For the foreseeable future the general scientific and political consensus is to keep things as natural as possible and only restore/maintain natural endemic species of coral. There's a lot of unfortunate instances of unintended consequences when introducing a foreign species into a new environment. For example, We currently have lionfish and iguana's creating imbalances in the Florida ecosystem.
I completely get where this is coming from as it is somewhat important to keep species from taking over the species of coral that are naturally already there. I guess as time goes on and we learn more about what can be done naturally to replace and or repair these reefs as they disappear decisions can be made and or changed. I am coming at it from the mindset that it is better to have a coral reef of some sorts for creature inhabitation and such than to have a dying one. I grew up in FL so I get the issues you are explaining with lionfish, iguanas, and even the python issue that is now plaguing FL. It is the same issue we are having here in VA/MD with the snakehead fish.
 

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