Upscaling coral larval culture in the Bahamas for reef restoration
In 2017, SECORE, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Nature Conservancy joined to start the Global Coral Restoration Project. The GCRP aims to study and apply coral restoration techniques and practices on a larger scale, integrating coordinated conservation, education and outreach efforts. As part of the GCRP, SECORE plans to run field trials in the Bahamas of newly developed technology aimed at upscaling sexual coral restoration capacity in the region. This project proposes the testing of new in situ larval rearing pool prototypes that have been developed based on pilot studies done from 2015 - 2017 in Mexico and Curacao. These prototypes are part of SECORE's strategy to implement large scale, low-cost and low-labor restoration. These field trials have an important implication for restoration efforts worldwide. One hurdle to adoption of large scale larval propagation as a restoration technique is the need for land based nurseries. In many locations, such facilities are not available nor logistically or economically feasible to construct. If successful, SECORE's larval settlement pools would allow for large scale coral restoration program implementation without the need for costly, land based infrastructure.