A short summary of our project
Establishing a coral-growing project for students to gain hands-on experience of maintaining and breeding endangered coral reefs. These threatened ecosystems are the lungs of our ocean.
Who am I?
I'm Abby Ray and I'm an undergraduate marine biologist, journalist, anthropologist and free diver studying at the University of Exeter. I fell in love with coral reefs while diving on the breathtaking atolls of Bermuda for two years.
This fund will help establish and maintain a student-managed project at the University of Exeter to cultivate coral and allow students to research propagating species resistant to the effects of climate change.
The project is being overseen by evolutionary ecology lecturer Dr Chris Lowe, professional coral taxonomist Matt Fynes and senior lecturer at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health Michiel Vos. The enterprise will help further establish the university's reputation as a world leader in environmental excellence and provide a unique experience for students to gain first hand experience of coral research in a laboratory environment.
In the last 30 years we have lost 50 per cent of the world's corals. Coral bleaching is increasing in intensity, due to global warming, and is eroding reefs at an alarming rate – destroying an essential part of the food chain: if you look at the scientific projections, in the next 25 years the oceans will be too warm for our coral reefs to survive. If drastic action is not taken we will see an eradication of an entire ecosystem in our lifespan. Twenty five per cent of all marine life relies on coral reefs, and if so if reefs are lost we are affecting the life of a quarter of the ocean. Where little fish disappear the big fish disappear, and you can view humans as one of the big fish. It's the beginning of an ecological collapse. Entire classes of organisms will go extinct.
This project is an effort to fight back - to inspire, educate and send out passionate advocates of coral reef protection who will look after this unique and productive ecosystem, and educate the next generation on how to conserve this essential environment. Supporting this project will not only give students vital experience of working in a lab environment and an understanding of coral reef environments, which will aid their careers, but also make a quantifiable difference to the survival of this essential ecosystem. Every penny will make a real difference to helping protect the marine environment.
Where will the money go?
Funding will be spent on equipment - if you know anything about corals, you will know how hard it is to keep them alive in the wrong conditions!
Any funding in excess will be spent on:
- expanding the project with more laboratory facilities so more students can be involved and exploring more complex conditions for coral propagation, mimicking the effects of climate change
- maintaining the project, as coral tanks require regular food and chemicals
- purchasing new coral frags and the upkeep of existing equipment
- further training with experts in the field and establishing collaborations with other universities specialising in growing coral
- promoting the work of Project Coral to secure further funding
Your reward is our thanks for your help and if you wish, substantial donors are welcome to have a tour of the labs and meet the students involved. You will also be helping safeguard the future of wild reefs for years to come.
Help us succeed!
We are also in the process of launching a webpage after project initiation, which will be circulated to donors.