Caribbean Restoration Roadmaps

Expanding coral restoration in Caribbean Marine Protected Areas

AGRRA and MPAConnect have teamed up in a new 3-year partnership, entitled the “Caribbean Restoration Roadmaps Initiative” to expand coral restoration in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and beyond. In response to the recent stony coral tissue loss disease outbreak and coral bleaching events in the Caribbean, there is an urgent need to expand the number of restoration efforts and coral species to maintain genetic diversity, reef structure and ecosystem function. Together with marine resource managers and our Restoration Advisory Team, our long-term goal is to increase regional collaboration to scale-up the rescue and recovery of Caribbean corals and enhance reef ecosystems.

Objectives:

  • Increase coral populations and improve reef ecosystem function
  • Develop science-based and management-relevant restoration roadmaps
  • Share and increase coral recovery technical expertise
  • Synergize and catalyze restoration efforts within Caribbean MPAs to increase recovery potential regionally

 

Opportunities:

  • Learning exchanges: Be a mentor, meet a mentor
  • Technical trainings: Online and field courses
  • Coral rescue planning: Develop action plans, share expertise
  • Recovery potential: Locally focused, regionally important
  • Small grants program: Planning and implementation

Advancing coral reef recovery through collaboration and connectivity

If you are new to or are currently involved with Caribbean coral restoration and would like to collaborate with us and learn more about the Caribbean Restoration Roadmaps Initiative, please contact us at roadmaps@agrra.org.

We are currently adding new information and resources to this Restoration Roadmaps website, so please check back for updates.

This project has been made possible through the generous support from The Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP), which was launched in 2020 by the G20 to fast-track research and development (R&D) solutions to save the world’s corals.

Timeline & Milestones

Meet The Team

​Coral Restoration Trainings

Our Coral Restoration Advisory Team is pleased to offer a series of theoretical and applied training courses on coral rescue and restoration. Online courses are open, but space is limited. More information on Field courses will be available soon. Field courses have limited space and prerequisites. Registration is required. The overall goals of the courses are to learn, act, and inspire.

Please review the course descriptions below and timetables before submitting your Request for More Information.

Course Descriptions

Restoration Roadmaps for MPAs

Course Description

The Restoration Roadmaps course is being jointly developed by the Restoration Advisory team and resource managers. The course will contain case studies and lessons learned during the planning and implementation of rescue and recovery efforts. In addition, the role coral restoration plays in relation to other management activities will also be addressed. Stay tuned for more.

Benthic and Coral reef monitoring – how to select and monitor reef sites & coral species

Course Description

The Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Program (AGRRA) has developed a comprehensive set of visual training tools to help participants learn identification of key reef organisms, their role in reef health, and how to monitor, track and understand these systems. The goals of the course are to train participants in coral reef monitoring using the AGRRA method, with a focus on coral restoration and evaluation, and standardized data management. Participants will learn how to assess important structural and functional attributes of tropical Western Atlantic coral reefs to track coral reef status and restoration progress.

Course Objectives

  • An overview of Caribbean coral populations and reef ecosystems
  • Techniques to monitor and track coral reef health and link to local and regional restoration
  • Guidance on how to use science to help improve coral rescue and recovery efforts 

 

Instructors: Judy Lang, Patricia Kramer, Lynnette Roth (AGRRA), Alizee Zimmerman (TCRF)

Introduction to large-area imaging for coral reef science and monitoring

Course Description

Large-area imaging (LAI), also commonly called photomosaicking, is the process of stitching together multiple pictures taken from different perspectives to obtain a view of a larger area than would be possible from a single image alone. This course introduces underwater large-area imaging techniques applied to coral reef science and monitoring. Topics focus on the planning and data acquisition parts of the process, including the technical background and applications of LAI, how to plan and execute an LAI project, as well as the basics of three-dimensional (3-D) model generation. Previous coral reef monitoring, research, and/or restoration experience is preferred but not required.

Course Objectives

  • Introduce basic LAI concepts for coral reef monitoring, research, and restoration projects.
  • Demonstrate how to successfully collect imagery for a coral reef monitoring, research, and restoration project.
  • Provide training on how to create a basic 3-D model in Agisoft Metashape.
  • Gain knowledge in proper data management (imagery and models)

 

Instructor: Art Gleason, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA

 

Coral spawning & larval propagation techniques

Course Description: This 10-hour course is designed to introduce MPA managers to the basics of coral sexual reproduction and the methods that are used to incorporate it into coral rescue and restoration projects. The topics to be covered include the coral life cycle, current techniques in coral restoration, preparing for spawning monitoring and collection (including preparing coral spawning prediction calendars, collection net fabrication and preparing for field work), monitoring coral spawning and assisted fertilization in the field or lab.  An advanced course on larval propagation and settlement as well as settler outplanting and monitoring will be offered at a later date, if needed.

Modules

  1. Coral reproduction
  2. Coral spawning observations & calendars
  3. Collecting spawn & assisted fertilization in the field or lab

 

Instructor: Dr. Anastazia Banaszak. UNAM. Mexico

 

Ecosystem-based restoration of corals & herbivores

Course Description:

This focus of this course is to provide instruction on techniques in ecosystem-based restoration

  • Focus on SCTLD susceptible corals
  • Coral propagation techniques (sexual vs micro-fragmentation)
  • Design, development, and maintenance of land based and in situ nurseries
  • Restock Diadema & other herbivores
  • Techniques to restore corals and herbivores

 

Instructor: Dr. Stacey Williams, ISER, Puerto Rico

 

Coral disease & tissue sampling techniques

Course Description

Pathological investigation of aquatic invertebrate diseases, with focus on corals

This course will cover the steps taken in the traditional veterinary response to a mortality event in wildlife species, where activities in the field and diagnostic laboratory converge to determine differential diagnoses and likely cause(s). A central component of this diagnostic investigation is pathology, including the gross (“naked eye”) and microscopic assessment of a sick animal’s tissues. This allows identification of pathological processes which define a disease and indicate most likely categories of causal agents, directing subsequent diagnostic assays. The field biologist is essential to this process, by identifying diseased corals, selecting the correct samples and providing the information necessary to interpretation of pathological observations. The course will cover the pre-dive, dive and post-dive tasks that need to be followed when sampling coral tissues for histopathological or other diagnostic analyses during disease outbreaks. Preservatives, collection vials and detailed instruction would be provided, but participants would need their own field tools, UW cameras and to keep accurate records of the photos, collected materials and metadata associated with each sampled coral.

 

Instructor: Michelle Dennis, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee

 

MPAConnect Network

MPAConnect is a learning network of MPA managers and professionals in the Caribbean that works to increase the effectiveness of MPA management by addressing specific capacity needs of individual MPAs through a variety of means, including regional peer to peer workshops, site-specific technical support, learning exchanges and direct grant funding.

Since 2010, this partnership between the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through their Coral Reef Conservation Program, and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) has addressed MPA management capacity by building a network of some 40 MPAs from 15 countries and territories in the Wider Caribbean region.

Photos by Francesca deWeerdt