Outplanting/Reef Restoration

Coral reef restoration for coastal protection: Crafting technical and financial solutions
Angelique Brathwaite et al., 2022. Journal of Environmental Management Volume 310, 15 May 2022, 114718 “Coastal erosion, aggravated by coral reef mortality is a major issue for Small Island Developing States. Traditionally gray infrastructure, financed by public budgets has been used to combat beach loss. We examined if three Nature-based Solutions (NbS): (i) coral restoration (green) (ii) restoration + limestone (hybrid) and (iii) restoration + 3D printed concrete (hybrid) could deliver positive outcomes for coastal protection and further incentivize cost sharing for reef conservation, with private beneficiaries. We modelled the impact of restoration on wave attenuation at two reefs off Barbados and simulated up-front and maintenance costs over a 25-year period. All solutions provide additionality when compared to gray infrastructure, especially in mitigating against Sea Level Rise. Restoration was the least costly with the highest risk of failure. The hybrid solutions, were less risky than the green as they provided immediate wave attenuation, alongside complementary services such as increased attractiveness due to the presence of reef fish. Their costs were however between +80% and +450% higher than gray solutions. While this might initially deter the use of NbS, blended finance and in some cases, Payments for Ecosystem Services, could provide options for governments and private beneficiaries to share costs, with ultimately greater benefits for themselves and coral reefs.”

Artificial reefs and marine protected areas: a study in willingness to pay to access Folkestone Marine Reserve, Barbados, West Indies
AE Smith et al., 2016 in PeerJVol4 “..From a sample of 250 visitors on snorkel trips, we estimate a mean willingness to pay of US$18.33 (median—US$15) for natural reef use and a mean value of US$17.58 (median—US$12.50) for artificial reef use. The number of marine species viewed, age of respondent, familiarity with the Folkestone Marine Reserve and level of environmental concern were statistically significant in influencing willingness to pay. Regression analyses indicate visitors are willing to pay a significant amount to view marine life, especially turtles. Our results suggest that user fees could provide a considerable source of income to aid reef conservation in Barbados…”

Why ‘it is absolutely not too late’ for Florida’s coral reefs
By Kate Furby et a., in npr.org Oct 11, 2023 Inlcudes link to 13 min audio on NPR (US). “Unprecedented times may require unprecedented innovations, including a laboratory to make corals stronger, a sort of “coral gym” to help them toughen up.”

Principles for coral reef restoration in the anthropocene
TP Hughes et alin One Earth. 2023. “Coral reefs are critically important ecosystems that support coastal societies and economies throughoutthe tropical oceans. However, many of the word’s coral reefs are already seriously degraded, especiallyby over-fishing, pollution, and anthropogenic climate change. Consequently, a resurgence of ecologicalrestoration programs is underway in an attempt to halt or reverse reef degradation and to develop new approaches in anticipation of further declines in coming decades. Some forms of rehabilitation of assemblages of corals may be feasible, affordable, and ethical—using currently available methods and capabilities—for very small areas (typically 1 km2) of high economic value, such as tourist sites. However, ourreview of the current and proposed restoration interventions indicates that more ambitious outcomes remainelusive and may even be counter-productive. In light of these challenges, we provide recommendations and aconceptual framework to guide future restoration projects and emerging approaches, highlighting that coralrestoration is likely to continue to fail even at small scales unless climate change and other anthropogenicimpacts are urgently reduced.”

Survivorship and growth in staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) outplanting projects in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Matthew Ware et al., 2020 in Plos One “…Reported here are the results of 20 coral outplanting projects with each project defined as a cohort of colonies outplanted at the same time and location…Results support NRP conclusions that reducing stressors is required before significant population growth and recovery will occur. Until then, outplanting protects against local extinction and helps to maintain genetic diversity in the wild.”

Ecology, histopathology, and microbial ecology of a white-band disease outbreak in the threatened staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis
Sarah A. Gignoux-Wolfsohn, 2020. in DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS. “Clearly, WBD continues to present a significant, ongoing threat to the acroporid populations throughout the region. Our results suggest that the seasonal nature of WBD outbreaks is largely due to the frequency of thermal-stress events, and that the severity of these outbreaks may be increased by rates of coral bleaching. These findings also point to the likely increase in the impacts of coral diseases with increasing SSTs.

Coral restoration – A systematic review of current methods, successes, failures and future directions
Lisa Boström-Einarsson et al., 2020 in Plos One “We found that coral restoration case studies are dominated by short-term projects, with 60% of all projects reporting less than 18 months of monitoring of the restored sites. Similarly, most projects are relatively small in spatial scale, with a median size of restored area of 100 m2. A diverse range of species are represented in the dataset, with 229 different species from 72 coral genera. Overall, coral restoration projects focused primarily on fast-growing branching corals (59% of studies), and report survival between 60 and 70%. To date, the relatively young field of coral restoration has been plagued by similar ‘growing pains’ as ecological restoration in other ecosystems. These include 1) a lack of clear and achievable objectives, 2) a lack of appropriate and standardised monitoring and reporting and, 3) poorly designed projects in relation to stated objectives. Mitigating these will be crucial to successfully scale up projects, and to retain public trust in restoration as a tool for resilience based management. Finally, while it is clear that practitioners have developed effective methods to successfully grow corals at small scales, it is critical not to view restoration as a replacement for meaningful action on climate change.”

Biorock Electric Reefs Grow Back Severely Eroded Beaches in Months
TJ Goreau & P Prong 2017. In Joirnal of Marine Science & Engineering “Severely eroded beaches on low lying islands in Indonesia were grown back in a few months—believed to be a record—using an innovative method of shore protection, Biorock electric reef technology. Biorock shore protection reefs are growing limestone structures that get stronger with age and repair themselves, are cheaper than concrete or rock sea walls and breakwaters, and are much more effective at shore protection and beach growth. Biorock reefs are permeable, porous, growing, self-repairing structures of any size or shape, which dissipate wave energy by internal refraction, diffraction, and frictional dissipation. They do not cause reflection of waves like hard sea walls and breakwaters, which erodes the sand in front of, and then underneath, such structures, until they collapse. Biorock reefs stimulate settlement, growth, survival, and resistance to the environmental stress of all forms of marine life, restoring coral reefs, sea grasses, biological sand production, and fisheries habitat. Biorock reefs can grow back eroded beaches and islands faster than the rate of sea level rise, and are the most cost-effective method of shore protection and adaptation to global sea level rise for low lying islands and coasts.”

Coral Reef Electrotherapy: Field Observations
Thomas J. F. Goreau. 2022 in Frontiers in Marine Science, 12 May 2022 “Coral reefs are the fastest collapsing ecosystems from accelerating global warming, sea level, disease, and pollution. Urgent steps are essential to regenerate them, and their biodiversity and environmental services, if there is to be a sustainable “Blue Economy”. Methods that greatly increase settlement, growth, survival and resistance to extremely high temperature and pollutant stress are critically needed to regenerate coral reef and coastal ecosystems now and in the future. Safe Extremely Low Voltage (SELV) electrical fields generated by the Biorock electrolytic reef process have been documented for more than 35 years to greatly increase settlement, growth, healing, and survival of marine organisms in general under extreme stress conditions. The visibly observable benefits of electrical stress relief on marine organisms are summarized, and testable hypotheses are proposed to determine mechanisms and improve applications. Although these field observations strongly imply that electricity in the proper range improves stress resistance and health, the mechanisms have never been studied at cellular, biophysical, biochemical, molecular, or genetic levels. Electrical stimulation is the only method known to reverse the impacts of extreme stresses on corals and other marine organisms. Widespread regeneration of coral reef ecosystems by electrotherapy is urgently needed before they become functionally extinct.”