Coral Reefs in the South Pacific: A Webinar with SPREP

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation recently hosted a webinar with our partners at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). SPREP is an organization established by the governments of Pacific Island nations to protect and manage the environment and natural resources of the Pacific. Their 21 member states (including many we studied on the Global Reef Expedition) work together to achieve healthy and resilient ecosystems and support sustainable development for Pacific communities. Our webinar with SPREP allowed us to share our research findings from the South Pacific directly with people who are actively working to conserve coral reefs and coastal marine ecosystems in the region. This is one of the many ways we are sharing our knowledge and findings from the Global Reef Expedition with the countries and communities in which we worked.

During the webinar, we were able to share information about the work the Foundation completed on the Expedition, including our extensive outreach and education initatives, as well as our scientific findings. We highlighted the programs our education team developed over the course of the Expedition, the many outreach events we held, and provided a comprehensive discussion of the results of our research in the South Pacific as well as our work in the Indian Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

At the end of the presentation, we were able to share our ongoing partnerships and upcoming projects, including our ongoing partnership with the University of Miami to develop a reef resilience model, our partnership with NASA to map the world’s reefs, as well as our numerous education programs such as the Mangrove Education & Restoration Program, Coral Reef Ecology Curriculum, and Science Without Borders® Challenge. Lastly, we shared information about our endorsed UN Ocean Decade Project, Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics, which will use science, outreach, and education to engage local communities to protect their coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows. This project will allow us to build off of our work on the Global Reef Expedition using a co-designed approach to further conservation of tropical coastal marine ecosystems, such as those in the South Pacific.

The webinar was attended by numerous government officials, marine managers, and stakeholders from throughout the South Pacific. Some of the attendees were people we had worked with on the Global Reef Expedition, but many were new and this webinar was a great introduction to the Foundation and our work. There was a great Q&A session at the end where we were able to discuss the findings and share more information about future partnerships.

As we take the work from the Global Reef Expedition to the next level, we are always looking to develop new partnerships to help bring the UN endorsed Science Without Borders® project to communities worldwide. Webinars like this, and partnering with SPREP, are important first steps in the implementation of the Science Without Borders® project and connect us with a network of people who are also working to protect, conserve, and restore ocean health.

Tongan socio-environmental spatial layers for marine ecosystem management

Published in Pacific Conservation Biology Abstract Environmental conditions and anthropogenic impacts are key influences on ecological processes and associated ecosystem services. Effective management of Tonga’s marine ecosystems therefore depends on accurate and up-to-date knowledge of environmental and anthropogenic variables. Although …

Global Reef Expedition: Mission to Tonga

MarineLink by Alexandra Dempsey April 16, 2020 Assessing the health of coral reefs in the Kingdom of Tonga Healthy coral reefs provide critical ecosystem services for millions of people globally, but with climate change and anthropogenic stressors, the landscape of …

Big Corals, Little Fish: A survey of coral reef fish in Tonga

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As a marine scientist, visiting the Kingdom of Tonga to study the coral reefs was a treat. We observed so many beautiful marine animals and habitats that were unlike anywhere else on the Global Reef Expedition. One of my favorite sites was in Vava’u where there were massive Porites corals the size of cars that dwarfed the divers. It was incredible.

However, what I found most surprising was the fish communities.

A Leap in Time for the Ocean – A guest blog from our partners at the Vava’u Environmental Protection Association

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In Tonga, there has been lots of effort between communities, government, national, and international partners to implement ocean management programs that aim to restore and conserve marine species and the marine habitats as well as provide livelihood benefits.

Our partners at the Vava’u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA), have continued to focus on awareness and community programs, supporting the launch of the Vava’u Ocean Initiative in 2017 with the Waitt Institute, Department of Environment, Ministry of Fisheries and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to further support ocean management and conservation programs. Through this partnership, VEPA supported the development and implementation of 7 Specially Managed Areas (SMAs) in Vava’u and the national consultations for marine spatial planning (MSP) alongside Government partners.

Making the Grade: How we grade coral reefs

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation recently published our findings on the health and resilience of the coral reefs in the Kingdom of Tonga. The report includes a unique grading scale we developed to indicate the relative health and resilience of the reef. For each survey site we visited in Tonga, we assessed the benthic community and classified the reef as being in “good,” moderate,” or “poor” condition.

This assessment was based on the overall live coral cover, algae, and invertebrate composition of the reef.

Global Reef Expedition: Findings from the Kingdom of Tonga

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has published our findings from extensive coral reef surveys conducted in the Kingdom of Tonga. Released today, the Global Reef Expedition: Kingdom of Tonga Final Report contains critical information on the health and resiliency …

Global Reef Expedition: Kingdom of Tonga Final Report

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation embarked on the Global Reef Expedition—the largest coral reef survey and mapping expedition in history—to study the coral reef crisis on a global scale. As part of the 5-year expedition, an international team …

Living Oceans Foundation Completes Global Coral Reef Atlas

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has completed the World Reef Map, an online interactive coral reef atlas that allows users to explore all of the coral reefs and shallow water marine habitats mapped on the Global Reef Expedition. With over 65,000 square kilometers of shallow water marine ecosystems mapped, this is by far the largest collection of high-resolution coral reef maps ever made.