We are a leader in coral reef conservation science.
Our proactive research has shown how coral reefs can successfully adapt to the effects of climate change, if humans create the conditions that help reefs evolve naturally.
Our current scientific work includes:
Spearheading new research into coral adaptation
We are launching, supporting, and interpreting scientific research to better understand how coral reefs adapt to climate change and the conditions that help encourage that evolutionary process. Read more about coral adaptation here.
We are galvanizing a global team of scientists and conservationists to “ground truth” coral reef data that is detected by satellites through the Allen Coral Atlas partnership.
Assessing adaptation potential
We are leveraging the groundbreaking Allen Coral Atlas, plus other available datasets, to identify networks of reefs that have a higher potential of adapting to climate change so they can be prioritized in conservation efforts.
Engaging with partners
We are working with a network of experts and thought leaders in coral reef conservation to integrate the results of our scientific research into conservation interventions and policies.
Regional field work
We are incorporating adaptation science into regional conservation efforts in the Hawaiian Islands and Mesoamerican region, and building local datasets about coral reef health and water quality to inform “on the ground” conservation efforts.
Featured Science Program
We’re working with the Allen Coral Atlas to unite a global network of scientists who can get into the water and confirm coral bleaching data that satellites are detecting from space.
Read our latest scientific articles.
To facilitate evolutionary adaptation to climate change, we must protect networks of coral reefs that span a range of environmental conditions — not just apparent ‘refugia’.… Continue Reading →
Here we present a case study of Los Micos Lagoon, a coastal lagoon responsible for seeding fish biomass in sites with some of the highest live coral cover in the Mesoamerican Region, the Tela Bay (Honduras) reefs.… Continue Reading →
We explore the extent to which habitat complexity, as detected by the Atlas, can inform adaptive capacity. Beta-diversity is a common index used to assess environmental heterogeneity within natural systems, indicating the change in species/habitat composition across a landscape.… Continue Reading →
In this study, we helped address this gap by comprehensively reviewing coral bleaching field survey methods as a first step for global ground-truthing of the Allen Coral Atlas (the Atlas) satellite-based bleaching monitoring tool. To do this, we implemented both qualitative and quantitative approaches to assess the most commonly applied survey methods in published literature… Continue Reading →
Assessing the potential for demographic restoration and assisted evolution to build climate resilience in coral reefs
Interest is growing in developing conservation strategies to restore and maintain coral reef ecosystems in the face of mounting anthropogenic stressors, particularly climate warming and associated mass bleaching events…… Continue Reading →
Our scientific work is built around collaborations. It unifies academics, nonprofits, corporate partners, and conservationists, and it bridges the gap between science and communities. Our work at the local level involves communities in science that typically occurs behind closed doors—our coral reefs are better off when we are all empowered with more information.
In the Wahikuli Watershed in Maui, Hawai‘i, the CORAL field team restores native forest ecosystems to protect coral reefs. In this location, extra sediment often moves down from the mountains and onto nearby reefs, causing stress to the corals. By adding native plant rows, the team is able to trap sediment and prevent it from… Continue Reading →
After 3 years, more than 400 data contributors, and 2 million satellite images, the Allen Coral Atlas is now complete. The atlas brings to life the world’s first globally comprehensive, high-resolution map and monitoring system for shallow coral reefs.… Continue Reading →
As the first community scientist in Trujillo, Honduras, Ana Valdez Martinez works closely with fishers to monitor their catch and help them understand what’s happening to their coral reefs and their fisheries. It’s the first time the community has had such an in-depth understanding of what’s happening underwater, and the data she collects will allow… Continue Reading →
In the conservation and nonprofit sector, we throw around a lot of acronyms. To our team, none are more important than “MPA” – a marine protected area. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are designated areas of the ocean that are set aside for conservation and management purposes. These areas are intended to preserve and protect the marine… Continue Reading →
So, picture this: you’ve just arrived at your dream tropical destination, ready to explore the crystal-clear waters and the vibrant underwater world. As you strap on your snorkeling gear and dive into the ocean, you’re immediately transported into a magical world of colors and shapes. The water is warm, the sun is shining, and the… Continue Reading →
It’s 2023 and for us, that means a new year with new opportunities to continue protecting the world’s coral reefs. We are so grateful for each and every donor who continuously believes in our mission and stands up for the health of our ocean’s most vital ecosystems. Your generous gift will fund our regional programs… Continue Reading →
Can coral restoration save coral reefs? That’s a question we at CORAL have been asked time and time again. It’s a good question—but it’s also a complex one. The answer may not be what you think. The Risks with Growing and Planting Corals In many scientific communities, “coral restoration” refers to the act of growing… Continue Reading →
By Ben Charo, Global Conservation Science Program Coordinator Coral reefs face a difficult and uncertain future. According to a recent UN climate report, the Earth is currently on track to warm by 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, enough to wipe out 99% of reefs. We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% in the… Continue Reading →
Research shows protecting “hot reefs” is key to saving coral reefs OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – September 16, 2022 – Coral reefs can adapt to climate change if given the chance to evolve, according to a study led by Coral Reef Alliance, Rutgers University, the University of Washington and other institutions. The recent study, published in the… Continue Reading →
Forty underwater temperature loggers now sit underwater on coral reefs across the Bay Islands in Honduras. Their purpose? To identify the temperature range that corals can withstand and typically experience within a year. These ONSET TidBits, as they’re known, measure water temperatures every minute and store the data internally. Every four to five months, a… Continue Reading →
By: Ben Charo, Conservation Science Program Coordinator If we don’t curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow the warming of our oceans, 99% of the world’s coral reefs are predicted to be gone by the end of this century. Indeed, reefs are already in serious decline. So it might surprise you to hear that within the… Continue Reading →
Coral Restoration Likely Won’t Be Enough to Save Coral Reefs. That’s Why We Focus on Reducing Marine Threats
Why don’t we focus on coral restoration? It’s a question we, at CORAL, have been asked time and time again. We address overfishing, minimize water pollution, support local communities, monitor coral bleaching, and lead cutting-edge research on coral adaptation to climate change…but we don’t generally work on coral restoration projects. Our decision comes down to… Continue Reading →
Could a map be used to estimate the likelihood that a coral reef can adapt to climate change? That’s one of the biggest questions driving our Global Conservation Science team these days. In collaboration with the Allen Coral Atlas (the Atlas), a global map and monitoring system for shallow water coral reefs, we are leading… Continue Reading →