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Building a coral reef monitoring network to achieve their conservation

$2,500
Pledged
29%
Funded
$8,800
Goal
29
Days Left
  • $2,500
    pledged
  • 29%
    funded
  • 29
    days left

About This Project

The rapid and constant decline of the coral reefs have increased the relevance of implementing tools to evaluate the reef's health status and short- and long-term actions for their conservation. We initiated a monitoring network to bring together datasets, people, and sectors. The data obtained will provide us with tools to determine health status of different coraline areas, and determine their restoration potential (if necessary) and resistance/resiliance.

Ask the Scientists

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What is the context of this research?

Monitoring programs are essential tools to assess the health of the coralline areas, but also to have shifting baselines that promote short- and long-term actions, such as the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. Coral reef monitoringis an incredibly valuable active management tool. However, most of the coral reefs that are seriously monitored are in Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) or World Heritage sites. And also, long-term management programs have significant challenges. Specifically, securing enough trained monitors with the knowledge and abilities to collect data and the link with researchers to gather and analize the data. This initiative has become the first citizen science-based coral reef monitoring network for the Eastern Pacific.

What is the significance of this project?

The coral reef monitoring is not only a health-assessment tool, but a base to implement other conservation actions such as a coral restoration project. In the last nine years, we have implemented restoration programs in both close to continent and remote insular NPA sites, which has faced different challenges, and surprisingly is not the implementation or success of the restoration technique, but the long-term monitoring which is essential for site rehabilitation, establishment of high resilient reefs and future conservation. Furthermore, the monitoring provides us information regarding high resilient sites, with the posibility to be actively restored and provide us with real-time alerts on warnings such as coral bleaching and in general, coral reef status.

What are the goals of the project?

This project will develop a fine-scale, long-term monitoring team to provide accurate data on the coral reefs. Our purpose is to maintain a long-term monitoring program, and bring together datasets, people, and sectors, by becoming inclusive and deconstructing the paradigm that only scientists are capable and responsible for active conservation actions. Obtaining a reliable and real-time data will allow us to establish actions in the short and long term, from promoting actions to restore the reef, determine their rehabilitation and even, be aware of specific high-alarming events (e.g. bleaching) that alert us and allow us to take inmediate actions. Also, being a citizen science project, we hope to expand the impact on the conservation of coral reefs.

Budget

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These funds are part of a larger project. The online training and first recruitment have been seeded by Adventures Scientist which has allowed us to launch the project, Mexican Coral Reef Monitoring Network. Also, we are already working to obtain another partial funding from National Geographic Society as part of the team is already National Geographic Explorers. Therefore, the requested budget will help us to continue building the network so that we can have an impact at the regional level. The recruitment and training of volunteers is a core aspect of our project, which is why for us they are the two most important aspects that require special attention.

Endorsed by

As a coral scientist with 20 years of experience in the field, I wholeheartedly endorse this project, which seeks to better understand, and ultimately conserve, imperiled coral reef ecosystems in Mexico (one of the most biologically rich nations on the planet). The scientific pedigrees of the team members, as well as their past successes in marine biopreservation in the tropical Pacific, should give anyone with the means to do so the confidence to invest in this important project.

Flag iconProject Timeline

This proposal is based on external capacity development. Our goal is to train monitoring volunteers and be directly involved in the conservation of local coral communities. The data collected will reflect the presence/absence and abundance of the key groups on any coral reef: echinoderms, fishes and benthic structure. Sites further away from urban developments will be considered to be in better health, however, remote sites will be more vulnerable to global impacts such as ENSO events.

Jun 11, 2022

First in-person training.

Jun 12, 2022

Project Launched

Aug 22, 2022

Second recruitment of volunteers and online training

Aug 29, 2022

Obtaining the first monitoring database with citizen data.

Oct 24, 2022

Second in-person training.

Meet the Team

Alma Paola Rodríguez Troncoso
Alma Paola Rodríguez Troncoso
Dr.

Affiliates

Universidad de Guadalajara
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J.J. Adolfo Tortolero-Langarica
J.J. Adolfo Tortolero-Langarica
Dr.

Affiliates

Tecnológico Nacional de México / IT Bahía de Banderas
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Gregg Treinish
Gregg Treinish
Executive director

Affiliates

Adventure Scientists
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Team Bio

Our team is unique in that we join forces with scientists specialized in the study, rehabilitation, and conservation of coral reefs and Adventures Scientist, a non-profit organization committed to team partners with data collected from the outdoors that are crucial to addressing environmental challenges.

Alma Paola Rodríguez Troncoso

I am a marine biology researcher and professor at the University of Guadalajara and a member of the National Researchers System. My research work is focused on the monitoring program of the Coral Communities of the Central Mexican Pacific (CMP) in order to evaluate the effect of ENSO events and climate change on growth, reproduction and physiology of the coral communities at the CMP. During the last seven year, I have leaded also in collaboration with Dr. Amílcar Cupul the Coral Restoration Program, partially funded by National Geographic Society and implemented in cooperation with governmental agencies, such as the Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) and the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP); and to date we have restored both Natural Protected Areas and sites with a high level of urbanization. I have further engaged with National Geographic by participating in the National Geographic Explorers Festival in Washington D.C. and in Mexico City. I had collaborate also with National Geographic Student Expedition in Belize and worked in the National Geographic Learning program. I really hope to become an inspiration for young students considering a career in the sciences.

J.J. Adolfo Tortolero-Langarica

I have PhD in Sciences of Biosystematics, Ecology and Natural Resources Management from the University of Guadalajara, graduated in July 2016. Specialist in coral reefs restoration, coral growth, coral calcification, and environmental records of coral reefs (sclerochronology). Currently, develops projects associated to the effect of ocean warming in the process of bio-mineralization of massive and branched corals, through environmental reconstruction and its response to natural and anthropogenic factors in a context of climate change.
This Include projects and research activities related with the improvement of active restoration techniques and the rehabilitation of degraded coral reefs, through novel techniques using natural remediation process in coral reef communities of the Pacific region and the Mexican Caribbean.

Nowdays, I’m working in posdoctoral projects in Caribbean coral reef including different research projects such as: “Restoration of Coral and Rocky Reefs: the potential of massive and branched corals as a long-term restoration tool in Islas Marías Biosphere Reserve, Mexico”, “Bioerosion variability of massive corals from the Central Mexican Pacific”, “Calcification rates of reef-building corals Pocillopora spp. and Pavona clavus of Isla Cleofas, Reserva de Biosfera Islas Marías”, and “Calcium Carbonate Production of Pocillopora corals species from the National Park Islas Marietas, Mexico”. Also, working as a General Director the non-profit organization PROZONA AC (www.prozona.org.mx), where develop and coordinates research projects as #Adoptacoral restoration program at Punta de Mita, Bahía de Banderas. Mexico.

Gregg Treinish

Gregg founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 with a strong passion for both scientific discovery and exploration.

National Geographic named Gregg an Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He was included on the Christian Science Monitor’s 30 under 30 list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with Adventure Scientists. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine “hero”, in 2015, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and one of Men’s Journal’s “50 Most Adventurous Men.” In 2017, he was named an Ashoka Fellow and in 2018 one of the Grist 50 “Fixers.” Gregg was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2020 and is a member of their Global Futures Council on Sustainable Tourism.

Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004.

Additional Information

Coral reefs are suffering a decline never seen before in recent decades. The loss of these ecosystems not only means that we lose their scenic beauty but also the benefits they provide us at no cost. Our project truly believes that local and inclusive actions will have a global impact. This is why the huge relevance to create a coral monitoring network as a multi-disciplinary effort and commitment to actively conserve the coralline areas.


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