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Coral reef conservation

The world's coral reefs are suffering from the devastating impacts of pollution, climate change, overfishing and other threats.

Scientists estimate 25-30% of these vital ecosystems have been largely or completely degraded since the beginning of the 20th century, and predict that we will lose most corals by the middle of this century if things don't improve significantly.

Our Coral Communities in the Seychelles project is conducting urgent coral conservation work, as well as providing new insight into the impact of artisanal fishing and coral degradation on the local economy and communities.

We work in partnership with the University of Essex, Seychelles National Park Authority and the University of Western Australia, and funded by Mitsubishi Corporation. Together, we are seeking to understand the recovery of reefs in the region from significant El Niño events and to identify conservation management actions needed to best-protect this vital ecosystem and resource. 

In addition to long-term coral conservation research and action, we are engaging with the local community and conservationists to empower them to better understand and protect their natural resources for generations to come.

Why it matters

Coral reefs cover just 0.2% of the world's seafloor but are home to a quarter of all marine life.

Approximately 500 million people worldwide depend on reefs for food.

In 2016, we reported unprecedented speed and extent of coral bleaching, with up to 95% of coral impacted in some areas.

Two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef is now bleached.

What we're doing

Working with stakeholders

Earthwatch and the University of Essex are working in close collaboration with the Seychelles National Park Authority to translate scientific knowledge into management action that will decrease threats of climate change to the natural world and the people of the Seychelles.

Bridging the gap

Around the world essential conservation skills are often missing from academic training programmes, and funding to train the next generation of conservation leaders is scarce. Our research project provides opportunities for young scientists in the Western Indian Ocean to join our team of expert field scientists and train in data collection methods, laboratory experiments and research design. 

Working with local communities

We are working with the local community to understand the implications of coral reef degradation on fishing and livelihoods. Our work informs conservation plans which work with, and in support of the people and their families, who depend on this vital resource.  

Great Barrier Reef and Okinawa

Since 2006 Mitsubishi Corporation has supported the Global Coral Reef Conservation Project, for which the research focuses on three key locations: the Seychelles, Okinawa, Japan and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Mitsubishi Corporation

Find out how our partnership with Mitsubishi Corporation is funding our vital research into precious coral reef ecosystems.

Read more

Images: iStock/Dudarev Mikhail, iStock/Tirachard, iStock/Janos, iStock/NatureNow, iStock/inusuke, iStock/Jag_cz, iStock/kanarys

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