Coral Reefs in the making - exploring a sea of options

Intensive, high-risk efforts are needed to restore coral reefs. But are researchers focusing on the right things? Traditionally, researchers have tried to intervene as little as possible to restore coral reefs, to avoid risks and let the ecosystem recover naturally. But at present time, those restoration options are often insufficient due to the increasing impacts of climate change. Some researchers have therefore turned to intensive options that risk changing the natural ecosystem. It is, however, not clear if the paradigm is shifting and if restorations are commonly tailored to tolerate the predicted future climate changes. Terrestrial systems are facing the same issues and a typology has been created to organize terrestrial restoration options and to put them into a climate change context. The aim of my thesis was to identify objectives and motivations behind restoration options for coral reefs, by using this typology. A broad literature search was done to include various types of active restoration options. Manual selection generated 55 unique studies from the last 10 years. Among these, 26 restoration options were identified and organized using the typology. Mild intensity options were more commonly used than high intensity options, suggesting that a paradigm shift has not occurred in practice. High costs and other logistical factors might explain these results where researchers may be forced to choose mild intensity options, even if they believe high intensive options are needed.

About me

Charlie Gong Bachelor's Programme in Biology

I want to work with active restoration of tropical ecosystems. I’m thankful for the diverse knowledge I’ve gained at SLU and the freestanding courses my programme has allowed me to take. This fall, me and my plants are moving to Lund for the Master’s programme in Conservation Biology! Feel free to add me on LinkedIn!