One billion of the world’s population rely on coral reefs for their food, livelihood or to protect vulnerable coastal habitats. Unfortunately, these coral reefs are severely threatened by development, pollution, climate change and overfishing. It is estimated that 30% of reefs have died since the 1970’s and 75% may die by 2050.
Coral Vita Co-Founders Named Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepeneurs
Forbes Magazine has announced its 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs for 2018, a list that includes Gator Halpern 27, and Sam Teicher 27, young leaders in the effort to counter the global decline of our coral reefs.
Halpern and Teicher are cofounders of Coral Vita, a company whose mission is to restore damaged coral reefs by growing, resilient versions of coral species using a method of accelerated growth.
The majority of today’s coral farming projects use in-ocean nursery methods that grow branching corals like staghorn almost exclusively. Slow growing but critical coral species like Brain coral and Star coral are not feasible for these ocean-based projects.
However, these species of coral can be efficiently farmed using the Coral Vita land-based method. Using Microfragmenting, a method developed by Florida’s Mote Marine Laboratory, coral growth can be accelerated by 50x the normal ocean-based growth rate. Slow growing corals can be established in months instead of years or decades. This method also allows for experimenting with species that are both quicker growing and more resilient to the environmental threats, like warming temperatures and acidification, that our oceans are facing today.
“Coral Vita plans to establish a network of land-based farms around the world in order to significantly scale-up reef restoration efforts.”
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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