why is it important?
Coral reefs support life in our oceans, and our oceans support life as we know it. Yet half of our coral reefs have already been lost and scientists estimated that more than 90% of all coral reefs are expected to die by 2050, if we don’t act now.
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It’s time for a 1-minute biology lesson about corals. Understanding the physiology of a coral is not easy, but let’s try anyway. Corals are animals. Invertebrates in fact, which is the same family as jellyfish.
There are soft corals and hard corals. Hard corals are the ones that build the reef… Wait! Build the reef? Are reefs and corals not the same thing? No, actually the coral is the animal and the reef is the structure that the corals live on, which is built by the coral. The coral reef is the whole ecosystem.
The body of a coral is called a polyp. The body is pretty much only made up of a stomach and a mouth. Doesn’t that sound ideal? We bet even if they had a brain, all they could think about would be food! The mouth has tentacles, which the coral uses for hunting. It eats anything from microscopic plankton to tiny fish.
Each polyp is one marine animal. Some polyps, like the mushroom coral, live alone. But most polyps live in big colonies and are dependent on each other like one organism.
Coral restoration is like a doctor’s visit for coral reefs. When coral reefs are not feeling well because of things like pollution, climate change, or damage from boats, we step in to help them recover.
The aim of our coral restoration project is to assist the recovery of an area on the North of Gili Air which has been impacted by dynamite fishing, coral bleaching, and earthquake activity. Over the next years we want to expand our fcous and restore two more dive sites around the Gili islands.
We use our coral nurseries as a staging area for rehabilitation of damaged or propagated corals. Once they reached a mature state, they are placed back by our Shark Warriors onto reefs that are damaged and on the artificial reef we created. Furthermore, we use hex domes to attached corals of opportunities that are known to thrive in this area.
Together with NGO Gili Matra Bersama we created Underwater Science Lab at Han’s Reef, which we use to educate and train people in coral restoration. Our Underwater Science Lab showcase various coral nursery and restoration techniques and is also been used to determine the most effective methods and species for the Gili Islands.
In 2022, we embarked on a remarkable collaboration with the talented UK artist, Will Solomon, to bring his “Back to Life” artwork, known as “Purple Plasma,” beneath the waves. We constructed this artwork from sturdy 13mm steel, covering an impressive 80m2. Once submerged in the ocean, we attached over 400 coral fragments to it.
Dreaming big and believing that everything is possible is what we love to do! Did you know that we made it our mission to give 100 local girls a coral restoration scholarship in the next five years? Furthermore, we’ve set up the first completely local, female coral restoration team in Indonesia! We call them Coral Catch Superwomen.
Together we are working on a daily basis to protect and restore three different dive sites in the Gili Matra Marine Reserve.
The ultimate vision of our Coral Catch project is to create a community of women that are working together to protect & restore the reefs in Indonesia.
Did you know that for centuries many women were barred from participating in official ocean research and could not study marine science?
Although we’ve made great strides in the gender representation in ocean research and conservation, we still have work to do. We are very proud that our Coral Catch Superwomen are contributing to closing the gender gap. They got this opportunity today because of the work of generations of women who came before us, and it’s our responsibility to continue to open doors for the women who will come after us.