It’s Official: Coral Reefs are Facing a Mass Global Bleaching Event

Written by

Today, a worldwide network of coral reef scientists announced that the world is currently experiencing its fourth global coral bleaching event, the second to hit reefs in the last 10 years. The announcement, made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), comes at a time when coral reefs are facing a number of threats to their survival.  

Bleaching-level heat stress, caused by prolonged increases in anomalous ocean temperatures, has – and continues to be – extensive across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation at COP28

Written by

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) will be participating in COP28 this December 2023. The 28th annual United Nations climate meeting is being hosted by the UAE and will be held at Expo City in Dubai. The United Nations COP or “Conference of Parties” is the highest decision-making process on climate issues as it convenes over 70,000 delegates, heads of state, and world leaders. KSLOF is honored to be participating in several events at COP28 this year to discuss the role of philanthropy in ocean conservation, upcoming projects that focus on monitoring and restoration of coral reefs, and the importance of preserving global biodiversity through coral reef protection…

Discovering Coral Bleaching: An Interactive Coloring Journey

Written by

In the wake of the devastating mass bleaching events that swept across the northern hemisphere’s coral reefs during the scorching summer of 2023, the importance of coral reef education has never been more important. As students settle into their academic routines, the critical issue of coral bleaching has risen to the forefront of environmental concerns in these regions. In response to this need, we are excited to introduce the dedicated section on coral bleaching from our Reefs at Risk Activity and Coloring Book. While the entire book is a work in progress, we’ve recognized the urgency of educating students about coral bleaching and have chosen to release the book in sections to provide timely information and engage young minds in this pressing matter…

Nurturing Innovation and Community Connection at UC Berkeley’s Gump Research Station

Written by

In the heart of Moorea Island in French Polynesia, a recent workshop at UC Berkeley’s Gump Research Station set the stage for a potentially transformative endeavor. Hosted by Gump Station, this gathering was dedicated to fostering a dynamic collaboration between scientists and the local community. The goal? To inform the creation of an ‘Innovation Hub’ that bridges the gap between research and the people it ultimately serves.

The event brought together over 30 people from around the world with an interest in working with the environment and people of French Polynesia. Participants included an eclectic mix of scientists, funders, representatives from nonprofit and community outreach organizations, and prominent members of the local community. The Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer, Liz Thompson, attended and shared some ideas about what the Innovation Hub could be and how it could be structured to benefit both the people and the marine environment of Moorea. The workshop succeeded in bringing together diverse minds united by a shared passion for combining science and outreach for conservation…

The Monaco Statement

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is a proud member of the Foundation’s Dialogue, and signed on to the Monaco Statement to help align philanthropic investments in marine science to address the goals of the UN Decade of Ocean …

Coral Bleaching

Written by

Coral reef bleaching has been in the headline news this past summer, as it was the hottest three-month period on record. As ocean temperatures soared to 32°C (90°F) around the Florida Keys and the Caribbean, coral reefs were way past their temperature threshold and started to bleach. But what happens when a coral bleaches?

Coral bleaching is a phenomenon that occurs when coral polyps expel the symbiotic (mutually beneficial) algae called zooxanthellae from their tissues, causing the corals to lose their color and turn white or pale. These algae provide the corals with essential nutrients through photosynthesis and contribute to their vibrant colors. When coral polyps expel the zooxanthellae, it not only leads to the loss of color but also affects the overall health and survival of the coral reefs…

Community Outreach in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape

Written by

A key component of the United Nations Endorsed Project Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics is outreach and community engagement. During the joint outreach and fieldwork campaign with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) and Pacific Blue Foundation (PBF), four villages were visited in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape. Community engagement and outreach are both important cultural practices for the Chief’s blessing and permission to work on the reef surrounding the villages, but they are also important for visiting scientists to gain valuable local knowledge about the nearshore ecosystem. The final component of the outreach program was to teach several local community members the survey methods for collecting coral reef transect data.

The lagoon is surrounded by several villages, each with its own unique character and traditions. The KSLOF and PBF team worked with four of these communities: Naisomo, Raviravi, Rukua, and Yunuca. The most important first step for community engagement in the Fijian islands is meeting with the head Chief and other community elders to receive permission to work in the waters near to their village. The meeting is called a sevu sevu. The sevu sevu must be done before any work in the water or on shore is started. It is considered extremely disrespectful if this cultural practice is not followed by outside visitors.

During the meeting with the Chief and his advisors, it is customary to partake in a ceremonial drink called kava. It is traditionally prepared by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder, straining it, and mixing it with cold water in a large bowl called a tanoa. Tanoas are carved out of a native hardwood and often have designs to reflect the history of the village. The kava mixture is then poured and drunk out of a bilo, which are small cups carved from coconuts. As the kava is shared amongst the villagers and visitors, the Chief asks what the purpose of the visit is and how it will benefit the community.