Measures being investigated to help the Reef resist, adapt and recover
The RRAP Concept Feasibility Study took a no-stone-unturned approach to examining 160 possible interventions. Of these, 43 were deemed worthy of further exploration in the R&D Program, based on the assessment of their potential benefits, cost and scale.These 43 potential interventions are described by three core attributes: the functional objective, delivery method and possible deployment scale.
· Functional objective—is the Reef ecosystem objective being targeted to aid recovery or adaptation to a changing climate.
· Delivery method—is the approach to deliver the intervention, typically comprising a production and deployment action.
· Deployment scale—is the likely maximum scale of the intervention, based on current knowledge and an assessment of logistics and costs.
Seven types of functional objectives, representing a comprehensive scope of possibilities, were identified and are outlined below:
Cooling and shading
Aimed at preventing coral stress by cooling and shading reef waters, this type of intervention includes reducing the amount of heat and light reaching reef water through cloud brightening, fogging and applying biodegrable surface films.
Reef structures and stabilisation
Methods such as stabilising loose coral rubble and creating artificial reef surfaces and structures aim to speed reef recovery following a disturbance - such as a cyclone, ship grounding or fatal coral bleaching - by supporting coral recruitment and regrowth.
Coral reproduction and recruitment
This type of method includes reseeding reefs with coral larvae collected from natural spawning slicks, as well as coral cultured through aquaculture, to enhance coral reproduction and reef recovery following disturbance.
Managing coral predators and competitors to facilitate reef recovery or maintain reef health.
Increasing coral survival and health following disturbance with probiotics, feeding, medicines or other treatments.
Seeding enhanced corals from existing stock
Aimed at enhancing temperature tolerance, and other desirable traits to facilitate natural populations' adaptation to environmental change, this method includes seeding reefs with corals from existing stock that have enhanced performance, to increase coral health and tolerance.
Seeding enhanced corals bred from engineered stock
Seeding reefs with corals that have enhanced performance derived from synthetic biology and gene editing approaches, to increase reef health and tolerance.
RRAP Concept Feasibility Study report T4 - Current Practices provides a summary of the current global knowledge of coral restoration methods and practices to date, and highlights common issues encountered as the field has evolved. Use our visualisation tool to explore current restoration methods.
Photo: Whitney Hoot, Government of Guam
Icon artwork by Dr Sue Pillans https://www.drsuepillans.com