Unfortunately, in recent years, a lot of the world’s corals have suffered large losses from climate change related bleaching especially on Guam. UnderWater World is proud to partner with researchers from the University of Guam Marine Lab, National Parks Service, Bureau of Statistics and Plans: Guam Coral Reef initiative, The Nature Conservancy, and SECORE Int’l to work on not only protecting and restoring Guam’s corals, but as well as educating the local community and tourists on small ways they can help protect Guam’s reefs. Projects we help with include coral relocation, coral out plantings to repopulate damaged and dying reefs, collecting gametes and settling larva during mass spawning events, and maintaining Guam’s coral nursery.
The nursery, which is used to rear both coral fragments and juvenile colonies to larger sizes, provides a protected place for these corals to grow until they are large enough for transplantation. Research has shown that these larger-sized corals survive better after being transplanted than smaller-sized ones. Currently, most of the corals being grown in the nursery are from the fast-growing genus Acropora. Acropora are the most diverse group of corals in the world and are an important fish habitat. Throughout the years UnderWater World has helped our partners not only to maintain this nursery and provide in water support, but also to help develop successful culture practices, understand which environments are the most favorable for corals, and what species respond best to culture.
Besides environmental effects, one of the biggest threats to Guam’s reefs are people! By simply being more aware and making small changes, you can have a great impact on the survivability of these beautiful animals.
- When you are out in the ocean be aware of your surroundings. Check to make sure you are not stepping on coral or grabbing it with your hands.
- Remember to take only pictures and leave only bubbles, so others may enjoy the same coral for years to come.
- Check your sunscreen to make sure it is reef safe. Avoid brands with active ingredients such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Avobenzone, and nano particles.
- Try to avoid single use plastics such as straws, utensils, cups, and plastic bags. Instead remember to carry reusable items with you.
- Dispose of all your trash and waste into proper trash bins, including cigarette butts.
Remember, it is only together that we can protect and save our coral reefs for future generations to enjoy.