Join the Coral Restoration Consortium’s Field-Based Propagation Working Group and expert coral restoration practitioners from around the world for an introduction to restoration methods for a variety of non-branching coral species. Panelists will provide a brief overview of their experience conducting restoration with non-branching corals, providing information on rearing, propagating, and outplanting techniques. Presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Date and time: December 15, 2021 from 8:30 - 10:00 am EST (UTC -5)

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This webinar is part of a restoration webinar series hosted by the Coral Restoration Consortium and the Reef Resilience Network. We encourage you to read more about the presenters’ work below.

Panelists' Biographies and Work Summaries

Dr. Shai Shafir

Senior Lecturer, Oranim College of Education

Dr. Shai Shafir is a marine biologist and a coral reef ecologist. He obtained a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University - Faculty of Agriculture, with a thesis entitled: "Agricultural and biological aspects for inland cultivation of corals.” During his graduate studies and thereafter, Dr. Shafir developed novel approaches in coral reef restoration (including the gardening tenet), focusing on in-situ and ex-situ aquaculture of corals and was able to follow the propagation and mariculture of thousands of corals in an underwater floating coral nurseries. In addition, Dr. Shafir served as the R&D Manager of Red Sea Corals LTD and participated in numerous international courses on reef restoration under European, USAID and World Bank projects, including projects in American Samoa and Mauritius. He was also involved in coral maintenance in a pan-European project that involves public aquariums in Europe. Explore the videos below to learn more about Dr. Shafir's work.

Sam Burrell

Senior Reef Restoration Associate, Coral Restoration Foundation 

Mesh-tray design for mounding coral

Mesh-tray design for mounding corals. Photo © CRF

Sam Burrell obtained a bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Music at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, and a Master’s in Marine Science from Northeastern University in Massachusetts. Prior to joining the Coral Restoration Foundation, Sam led a coral propagation program for a marine consulting firm in the Maldives. During his Master’s, he conducted research at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Bocas del Toro Research Station in Panama, the Friday Harbor Laboratories in Washington, and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.  

Coral Restoration Foundation™ (CRF™) has worked to develop in-situ restoration methodologies for the propagation of mounding species such as Orbicella faveolata, O. annularis, and Montastrea cavernosa. Wild parent colonies of O. faveolata and O. annularis were first collected by CRF™ as “corals of opportunity” throughout the Florida Keys. Those colonies originally generated 36 individual putative genotypes across both species to be used as “broodstock”, which now continually produce smaller, subsequent-generation fragments for restoration activities such as outplanting. These broodstock were placed on PVC cards using marine epoxy and installed in CRF™’s in-situ nursery (off of Tavernier, FL) using the newest iteration of our Boulder Coral Tree and mesh-tray designs. Once the broodstock tissue skirts to the edge of the PVC cards, colonies are removed from the card and fragmented into new broodstock, with all excess tissue then fragmented (1-2 cm) and transferred to outplant plugs. Ideally, each Boulder Coral Tree then consists of four trays of 70 plugs and two trays of 12 broodstock, totaling 280 plugs and 24 broodstock of monogenetic coral fragments per tree. During the 9-12 month grow-out phase after fragmentation, routine cleaning and maintenance ensures these corals are not outcompeted or overgrown by biofouling organisms prior to outplanting.  

Dr. Phanor H Montoya-Maya

Director, Corales de Paz; Research Associate, CEMARIN

Dr. Phanor H Montoya-Maya is a marine biologist and SCUBA diving instructor specializing in coral reef ecology, genetic connectivity, and restoration. Dr. Montoya-Maya obtained a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa), an M.Sc. in Ichthyology from Rhodes University (South Africa), and a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University (Colombia). He is also a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner by the Society for Ecological Restoration and a founding member of the Coral Restoration Consortium.  

Living shorelines monitoring 2021.11.03 Phanor Montoya Maya

Living shorelines monitoring. PhotoLiving shorelines monitoring in Colombia. Photo © Phanor Montoya-Maya

Furthermore, Phanor's work has played an important role in building and maintaining partnerships and networks between international NGOs, universities, and research institutions, which have resulted in the  opens in a new windowRestoration Network of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (RedPTO) and the Coral Reef Latin American Network (Corales Latinos). He also developed the first professional training program on large-scale coral reef restoration with workshops run in Seychelles, the Maldives, and Colombia. Lastly, he pioneered Colombia's first citizen science coral reef monitoring and restoration programs that include the digitalization of Colombia's coral reef monitoring surveys by applying structure-from-motion techniques (e.g. benthic photomosaic imagery) and developing new tools to improve image capture. In so doing, they are allowing stakeholders to contribute to surveys, building stewardship, and effectively assessing the effectiveness of coral reef conservation and restoration efforts. 

For the last 5 years, Phanor has served as the director of  opens in a new windowCorales de Paz, an organization that applies participatory approaches (e.g. citizen science) to coral reef monitoring and restoration. Corales de Paz pioneered Colombia´s largest coral reef restoration project in the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, a multi-partner collaboration that resulted in a 41% increase in live hard coral cover at circa 1 hectare of intervened reefs with the addition of over 8000 nursery-grown colonies in San Andrés and Providencia Islands in just two years of operation. Today, this experience is the precursor of a national project with government support that will aim to restore 200 hectares of reefs in both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia by sexual and asexual propagation of more than 20 stony coral species.  

Before Colombia, Phanor was the technical and scientific officer for the  opens in a new windowReef Rescuers Project: Restoring Coral Reefs in the Face of Climate Change of Nature Seychellesopens PDF file  in the Republic of Seychelles. They promoted a two-fold increase in coral settlement with the outplanting of 25,000 corals of nine species (Pocilloporid and Acroporids) in 5,000 square meters. We also published a  opens in a new windowCoral Reef Restoration Toolkit: A Field-Oriented Guide Developed in the Seychelles Islands, published the scientific evaluation of the effectiveness of coral outplanting in enhancing the natural recovery of Seychelles´s coral reefs, and organized and taught the first international professional development program on coral reef restoration via the coral gardening method.

Andrew Taylor

Director, Blue Corner Marine Research

Andrew Taylor is the director of  opens in a new windowBlue Corner Marine Research. Andrew has a graduate degree in Marine Ecology and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner with the Society for Ecological Restoration. He has been working on a coral reef restoration project in Nusa Penida, Indonesia. For more information, read the  opens in a new windowNusa Islands Restoration Site project summaryopens PDF file . 

A variety of impacts over the years have seen some coral reef areas around Nusa Penida degrade into unstable rubble. The Blue Corner Marine Research team has been restoring these areas through a recovery plan that involves several methods and species of coral. First, the rubble areas undergo structural restoration through use of stabilizing mesh and clusters of coated frames. Then, several coral species are re-introduced by transplantation into the site. Coral species are selected based on adjacent reference community and historical composition. In addition to five Acropora species transplanted at the restoration site, other branching coral genus used include Montipora, Porites, Pocillopora, and Paraclavarina. Boulder/massive genus include Galaxea, Goniopora and Porites; as well as foliose growth-form within the genus Echinopora. The team has also been transplanting soft coral (Xenia) into the restoration site as a bio-activator to stabilize rubble.  

Galaxea boulder corals. Underwater field applications of microfragmentation. 
Before: Galaxea in 2019 Blue Corner Marine Research

Before: Galaxea in 2019. Photo © Blue Corner Marine Research

After: Galaxea in 2021

After: Galaxea in 2021. Photo © Blue Corner Marine Research

Xenia on mesh

Xenia on mesh. Photo © Blue Corner Marine Research

Echinopora transplanting

Echinopora transplanting. Photo © Blue Corner Marine Research


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