Coral Reef Restoration

Puerto Morelos Mexico Jennifer Adler

Course Description

Coral reef managers are increasingly turning to restoration as a strategy to combat reef degradation and promote reef recovery. As a result, different techniques are being used across the globe, making it difficult to choose the right approach for your location’s specific needs and capabilities. The Coral Reef Restoration Online Course is designed to provide coral reef managers and practitioners with information on the latest restoration best practices for coral reef ecosystems, including guidance on restoration planning and program design and descriptions of a diversity of restoration approaches currently being employed.

Course Outline

Introduction to Restoration & Project Planning (1 hour) – introduces the general theory and practice of ecological restoration and its use in coral reef ecosystems and provides a guided process for planning and designing a coral reef restoration program, from setting objectives through determining on-the-ground restoration actions, which is based on the Manager’s Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning & Design (The Nature Conservancy).

Restoring Coral Populations with Coral Gardening (1 hour) – describes the steps involved in restoring populations of hard corals using the techniques and approaches known as ‘coral gardening’. These techniques include collection of coral fragments from reefs, types of coral nurseries, the propagation and growth of colonies in field-based nurseries, and transplantation (or outplanting) of corals back onto reefs.

Restoring Coral Populations with Larval Propagation (45 minutes) – describes the steps involved in enhancing coral populations using the techniques and approaches known as larval propagation. This lesson includes information on coral’s natural sexual reproduction process, and describes methods for collecting and fertilizing coral gametes, rearing new coral larvae and promoting settlement onto the reef or artificial structures, and outplanting corals back onto reefs.

Restoring Reef Structure for Coastal Resilience (30 minutes) – describes restoring the physical structure of coral reef ecosystems, an important intervention for habitats that have been damaged, degraded, or become unsuitable for coral larval settlement. This lesson is based on the Guidance Document for Reef Management and Restoration to Improve Coastal Protection: Recommendations for Global Applications Based on Lessons Learned in Mexico (The Nature Conservancy).

Rapid Response and Emergency Restoration (45 minutes) – describes how to prepare for, respond to, and then repair coral reef ecosystems after disturbance events. Recommendations in this lesson focus on responding to three major causes of damage: tropical cyclones, vessel groundings, and disease epidemics. The hurricane response section is based on the Early Warning and Immediate Response Protocol for Tropical Cyclone Reef Impact in Puerto Morelos Reef National Park (The Nature Conservancy).

Monitoring for Restoration (30 minutes) – describes approaches for monitoring coral reef restoration projects in order to evaluate their success and development. This lesson discusses current practices for monitoring, including methods and metrics that assess individual coral colonies and the broader ecological effects of restoration on reef sites. This lesson also provides recommendations for standard monitoring metrics that can be used to help compare across projects.

Available Languages

Course Audience

Coral Reef Managers and Practitioners


5 hours
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