The Living Oceans Foundation conducts coral reef research missions in the Galapagos islands with our partners from the University of Miami. Unusual current patterns and low levels of human impacts provide us with a unique field laboratory to explore the potential implications of climate change in a natural setting, and may offer insight into how corals around the world may adapt to climate change.
The corals of the Galapagos islands range from true reef-building corals, to single species of corals. Our goal is to evaluate how well these corals have recovered from past El Niño events, especially those that led to widespread coral bleaching and coral die-offs. We are also evaluating the potential impacts of ocean acidification by measuring the acidity of the water and collecting coral cores to determine how much they have grown over the last decade Additionally, we are evaluating the reproductive patterns of corals, the extent of coral diseases and predation, the amount of erosion, and the health of species. We have also collected data to create habitat maps of the eight islands where we conduct research.