This month we have partnered with Great Barrier Reef Legacy. Great Barrier Reef Legacy was created to address the urgent need to secure the long-term survival of the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs world-wide.
Below is a note from the Managing Director, Dean Miller.
The biodiversity of corals on the Great Barrier Reef is under serious threat.
In response, our team has already started establishing the Living Coral Biobank Project - to collect and conserve all Great Barrier Reef hard coral species and safeguard them from future adverse impacts. This ‘coral ark’ will preserve coral biodiversity and enable important reef research and restoration efforts, just like the Norwegian Global Seed Vault does for seeds.
With 85 species already in the Biobank in our partners' facility, representing nearly 22% of Great Barrier Reef species, we are well underway but need your support to scale up operations to collect all 400 Great Barrier Reef coral species before its too late, and to store and maintain them safely and securely.
To do this the project has two major elements - we’re going to build a dedicated world-class Biobank facility in Port Douglas to host the full collection of corals from the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs worldwide, and we’re creating a Global Network of public and private aquariums. This Global Network will host living coral fragments in existing facilities – so we can rapidly create a strong insurance policy against species loss. Right now, we’re setting up a robust system for tracking every fragment and its health – to inform research and enable fragment recall.
In an incredible show of support, Cairns Aquarium has offered the Living Coral Biobank Project its first long-term storage solution in-kind including utilities and with an expert team to manage and maintain over 12,000 live coral fragments. This will also be publicly accessible with education and outreach goals and will help drive QLD tourism. Now, all we need is startup funding to purchase equipment and establish this significant ‘Foundation Hub’ immediately.
This Project is collaborating in an international effort to protect global coral species biodiversity along with organisations like the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Monaco Aquarium. And, we’ve just formalised a Science Advisory Panel of amazing reef researchers to make sure we draw on leading reef research and practice each step of the way.
This Living Coral Biobank Project also has enormous potential for global education, outreach and citizen science. We’re going to work really hard to make it a leading example of large-scale community-led project with deep collaboration for climate action.
To our delight, the Living Coral Biobank was featured on ABCs Australian Story, in an episode dedicated to honouring the life and career of Dr Charlie Veron, a legendary marine biologist known as the ‘godfather’ of coral and a key component to the success of the Biobank project.
We’re now promoting the Living Coral Biobank widely, and seeking support from seed funders, collaborators, and pro-bono partners.
Please reach out to us if you would like to get involved.