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Healthy Oceans Healthy Planet

by Joe Turner June 04, 2015

Healthy Oceans Healthy Planet

 

 

 

 

Healthy oceans, healthy planet.  

That is the theme for this year’s World Oceans Day coming up June 8th.  A United Nations-recognized day of ocean celebration and action, World Oceans Day reminds us to be thankful for the beauty and resources the ocean provides.

Healthy Ocean_watermark
Photo credit: Paola Espitia

To celebrate, the Jellyfish Art team will be traveling to the Florida Keys to partner with the Coral Restoration Foundation for Plantapalooza.  The goal for the day: outplant over 1,000 staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) on the reefs throughout the Upper Florida Keys.  Due to multiple stressors in the late 1970s and 1980s, the population of this species has declined dramatically and today they are listed as threatened.  The efforts of the Coral Restoration Foundation and the community help to repopulate and promote genetic diversity of this ecologically and economically important coral.

Transplanting corals is no easy task, trust me, I know!  While in graduate school at the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Oceanographic Center, I logged hundreds of hours underwater outplanting and measuring staghorn corals as part of the NSU Coral Nursery Initiative.  Using small fragments removed from staghorn coral colonies on the reef, several coral nurseries were developed offshore Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  From this base crop, branches are snipped then outplanted to the natural reef.  These newly established staghorn colonies are then closely monitored and studied for years after transplantation giving us insight into how fast these corals grow, survive, and attract fish and other organisms to the reef.  You can learn more about this initiative and support the NSU Coral Nursery Initiative here!

Photo credit:  Paola Espitia
Monitoring newly outplanted staghorn coral. Photo credit: Paola Espitia

You may not get the chance to jump in and transplant corals for World Oceans Day, but there are many other ways you can celebrate.  Sign up for an event near you or plan your own event or activity!  From organizing a waterway or beach cleanup  to sharing your message on the sidewalk using eco-friendly chalk, you can find more cool ideas on the World Ocean Day website.

What will you do to celebrate World Oceans Day?  Let us know!  Post a comment here or on facebook!




Joe Turner
Joe Turner

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