Aquanauts Assemble: Coral Restoration
Several years ago (June, 2008), scientists participated in an eight-day mission in which they were living and working at 60 feet (18 m) below the sea surface in order to determine why some coral colonies survive transplanting after a disturbance, such as a storm, while other colonies die out.
Coral reefs worldwide are suffering from the combined effects of hurricanes, global warming, increased boat traffic, and pollution. As a result, their restoration has become a priority among those who are concerned about their health.
Using as a home base the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Aquarius, an underwater facility for science and diving located in Key Largo, Florida, a team of “Aquanauts” is working to protect coral reefs from this barrage of threats by investigating ways to improve their restoration. The photo above shows an aquanaut building a “coral garden” with transplanted colonies.
Summary and Photography by Iliana Baums