Coral Gardeners: how to save the coral reef

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Delia Carta

The word “environmentalist” immediately makes us think of a great forest to be saved. Expanses of trees, mountains and plains, but, wait a minute: the world is not only made of lands.

Beneath the surface of the enourmous oceans, there are endless marine forests, which are as necessary for us as their cousins on land: coral reefs.

For those who don’t know, coral is neither a rock nor a plant, but a living species. These fascinating creatures, as beautiful as they’re fragile, live on their ancestors’ skeletons. Each dying generation adds a layer to the reef, developing over millennia into the magnificent structures we can admire today.

Coral Gardeners: come salvare la barriera corallina
Coral Gardeners: how to save the coral reef – Expanse of corals in Polynesia

Some coral reefs are estimated to be more than 10,000 years old. Thousand-yaear-old agglomerations, often referred to as the “rainforests of the sea”, since they’re home to 4000 species of fish and countless microorganisms.

Their existence is literally vital for humans too. As a matter of fact, corals and their delicate ecosystem allow the ocean to produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe. In addition to this physiological function, don’t forget that they attract tourists who love scuba diving. Tourism alone generates a $375 billion income annually, creating jobs for local communities. Besides, the reefs protect the most exposed coasts from storms and major natural disasters.

All this is at risk. Like the great “green lungs” that we know well, even the submerged “multicolour lungs” are threatened by pollution, global warming and overfishing.

Coral Gardeners: come salvare la barriera corallina
Marie Céline Piednoir, Coral Gardeners Head of Communication

Coral Gardeners was born in 2017 in order to protect and save the coral reef. It’s a union of very young people, defined by the world press as “Ocean Innovators”.

The adventure if these guardians of the deep is born from Titouan Bernicot‘s desire. He’s a photographer and freedriver, born and raised in Moorea, French Polynesia. Titouan says that seeing his island and habitat in danger was the impetus needed to act.

These “Coral Gardeners'” operating method is delicate and accurate. The key to the whole process lies in treating “Super Corals“, i.e. genetically resilient corals, which do not die in adverse conditions.

Coral Gardeners: come salvare la barriera corallina
Coral Gardeners: how to save the coral reef – Super corals nursery

Super corals are planted and grown in a real nursery, and once mature, they’re transplanted to the most damaged areas of the coral reef. Each coral planted is then closely monitored for weeks.

The opportunity to adopt a super coral is the turning point that can let us all be part of this marine rescue. You can choose from numerous types and species, of different colours and shapes. Once chosen, you give your coral a name and you will receive a Card certifying its authorship.

If you’re already excited about this and want to make a gift that will last millions of years, here you can find the link.

Coral Gardeners: come salvare la barriera corallina
Coral Gardeners – A volunteer along the reef

If nothing changes, coral reefs will be the first ecosystem on earth to be gone completely by 2050, taking with it 25% of marine life, which lives and proliferates in the reefs.

We often forget that nature exists and watches over us even in the most unreachable and hidden places. Most humans have never seen a coral reef up close, but that doesn’t mean a coral is less important than a century-old oak.

Coral Gardeners and other Oceans Innovators associations don’t just save coral reefs. They save all of us.