Researchers use satellites to analyze global reef biodiversity

In Phys.org February 10, 2024     Researchers used Earth-orbiting satellites to map coral reef biodiversity at a global scale to show that areas of high habitat diversity also have high species diversity. This new satellite mapping technique can help …

The Living Oceans Foundation joins CORDAP Advisory Board

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Following a unanimous decision made by the representatives of the G20 nations of the Initiative Governance Committee (IGC) of the Global Coral Reef Research and Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP), the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) has been appointed as a new member of …

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

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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

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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…

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

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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 …

Community Outreach in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape

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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.

Community-Based Coral Reef Monitoring in Rukua Village

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The reefs surrounding the Beqa Lagoon in Fiji have endured many events that threaten their ability to survive, including bleaching events, crown-of-thorns outbreaks, and cyclone damage. These reefs are incredibly important to the people of the region, and to save them, the surrounding villages and communities want to have a pulse on the health of their marine resources. To help manage these threats and monitor locally managed marine areas, or tabu,the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is working with Mila Matairakula, a master’s student and Pacific Blue Foundation’s Environmental Officer. Her project, Small Scale Assessment of Changes in Coral Genus Using the Machine Learning Tool, CoralNet: A Case Study in Rukua Village, Beqa, will focus on streamlining in-water survey protocols to develop a more accurate and cost-effective method for coral reef monitoring.

One of the first test sites in Beqa Lagoon is Rukua Village, which has several traditional protection areas (tabu) and designated fishing grounds (qoliqoli). These areas have historically been managed locally by community members to help keep fishing pressure and coral reef damage to a minimum. However, there have not been sufficient monitoring protocols to evaluate how these managed areas are faring. If the coral reef ecosystem is stressed and overfished, it greatly affects the lives and food security of the village…