Coral Relief Alliance
Formed in 1994 by a group of avid divers, CORAL (Coral Relief Alliance) is part of a global network of marine organizations working tirelessly to save the world’s reefs from the effects of climate change. The organization focuses on three key actions to inspire change: Gathering research, building partnerships, and sharing knowledge.
A billion people rely on coral reefs for food and income, but over the last decade, 14% of the world’s reefs have been lost. We recently sat down with Marissa Stein, Associate Marketing Director of CORAL, to discuss the importance of protecting one of our planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems.
Leading and sharing innovative research
As thought-leaders in coral reef conservation science, CORAL pursues groundbreaking research into coral adaptation by launching, supporting, and interpreting scientific research – all with the hope of protecting coral reefs worldwide.
One of the organization’s main focuses is the role research plays in finding solutions. As Marissa explains, CORAL’s Global Conservation Science program works to turn science into action: “Our cutting-edge research program investigates how corals adapt to changing ocean conditions. This research shows that corals can adapt to climate change if they’re healthy.”
CORAL also makes scientific research available to the public on its website to inform people about coral conservation, knowing that it takes a global village to save coral reefs. Marissa says the shared research focuses on showing how “evolution can rescue reefs from climate change.”
Building partnerships across the globe
CORAL is also an incubator in many ways. They bring together like-minded ocean activists, from NGOs, governments, and corporations, to scientists and volunteers. Through this, they’ve been able to build and support coral-protecting communities worldwide.
The far-reaching effects of their partnerships can be seen with OSA (Ocean Sewage Alliance) – a well-known marine organization founded by CORAL. OSA, as Marissa explains, is “a diverse collection of organizations and academic scientists” working to increase the health and well-being of both humans and nature.
“By reducing wastewater pollution, we are able to boost our health and the environment around us. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when organizations have a partnership-first approach we can foster cross-sector collaborations and share knowledge.”
Working to end the problem of coral bleaching
By 2050, 90% of global coral reefs are projected to experience coral bleaching annually. Due to rising temperatures and direct threats like water pollution and overfishing, coral reefs are under increasing stress, which can render them unable to produce colored zooxanthellae and leave them in a bleached state. If left this way for too long, the corals die and unfortunately many governments are unable to detect bleaching quickly enough.
CORAL has been working with partners to create a coral bleaching response network. They’ve partnered with Allen Coral Atlas, a free online tool that uses satellites and advanced algorithms to detect coral bleaching events to provide reef-level bleaching alerts in real time. CORAL helps validate these bleaching alerts through its global network of scientists and citizen scientists.
In Honduras, CORAL helped operationalize a wastewater treatment plant in West End, Roatán. This effort led to a 98% reduction in bacteria in nearshore waters between 2013 and 2020 and all but eradicated coral disease.
“We know how to save coral reefs, but we can’t do it alone,” says Marissa. “It will take a global effort to curb climate emissions and tackle coral reef threats head-on.”
Thanks to the 26NorthYachts Team to share this informative article, to learn more about Coral Relief Alliance and how you can support their work, visit coral.org today.