Empowering People to Conserve Their Coral Reefs

"We are trying to empower reef managers to be able to reduce the impacts of climate change because often, they feel there is nothing they can do."
Stephanie Wear, Director of Coral Reef Conservation

When the days are long and hot, the top thing on your mind might be a stretch of beach or some cool shade. But if you're a reef manager, it's coral bleaching, a phenomenon that causes corals to expel the colorful algae that live within them and will ultimately lead to the death of the corals if the algae don't return.

The Conservancy and partners are leading workshops for reef managers around the world on the strategies they can take to address issues like bleaching.

At the heart of these trainings is education and understanding about reef resilience, a concept pioneered by Nature Conservancy scientists that just might help save some of the world's healthiest reefs.

What is Reef Resilience?

Not every coral reef is susceptible to bleaching — some are able to survive. Instead of focusing on the reefs that are dying, Conservancy scientists study why some coral reefs are resilient and able to bounce back after experiencing stressful events. They've learned that a reef with a healthy immune system is more likely to survive and thrive despite warming sea temperatures.

Sharing Our Conservation Knowledge

Lessons learned from these resilient systems can be applied around the world. Through the workshops, the Conservancy leverages what successful reef practitioners know, and shares that knowledge with other reef managers.

Training on the Reef

The Conservancy and its partners perform the reef resilience training where managers can study reefs in ideal conditions, providing participants with a real-life model of what a healthy reef should look like, explains Wear.

In the classroom, instructors like Wear stress the aspects of reefs that are critical for survival, and what managers can do to support and protect them. Ultimately, participants leave with a continued commitment to protecting their countries' coral systems.