• January 2022 – Present – Expansion of activities into the Whitsundays tourism hub

    Expansion of a new node into the Whitsundays (Coral Nurture Program Whitsundays – CNPW) funded under the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Reef Islands Initiative, to evaluate how the approach pioneered in Cairns-Port Douglas translates to the more complex challenges of Whitsundays reef environments and diverse tourism operations. CNPW has a goal of tailoring workflows to the unique context of the Whitsundays to ensure coral re-planting quality over quantity and identify the return on investment for longer term and sustained activities. This work will also provide new insight on local coral reef ecologies and coral diversity, and how it can inform on-going restoration activity in the Whitsundays.

  • March 2021 – Present - Expansion with diverse operators and reef sites to outplant > 100,000 corals over the next 4 years

    Expansion of the program to include additional partners to resolve the cost-effectiveness of high throughput out-planting across diverse GBR reef sites and tourism business operations, and identify the impacts of the efforts to both reef ecologies and tourism stakeholders. The program has a goal of > 100,000 corals over the next four years. Effort is continuing to resolve traits of stress-tolerance of corals that can help inform coral selection for nursery propagation and out planting. Funding for this phase is currently support through novel blended financing by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and in partnership with Reeftip drinks Co..

  • May 2020 – February 2021 - End of proof of concept - propagation and out-planting at multiple reef sites in partnership with 5 tour companies.

    End of the Proof of Concept stage. All reports provided to the Australian & Queensland Governments. All tourism company participants have established tailored nursery and out-planting plans for their individual reef sites, but working in an efficient and coordinated way. Efforts continued to further expand out-planting capacity and research opportunities. Research funding secured to begin assessing natural heat tolerance of native coral populations for selective nursery propagation, thanks to grants from ROLEX and L’Oreal, and on-going operations rely on donations and sustained financing initiatives.

  • May 2019 to April 2020 - Proof of Concept of broad propagation and out-planting at multiple reef sites in partnership with 5 tour companies.

    Australian & Queensland Government challenge “Boosting Coral Abundance on the GBR” Stage 2 – Proof of Concept. UTS and Wavelength Reef Cruises were one of three successful projects to be funded. This project asked how the approach, which was successfully implemented at a single reef in stage 1, could be applied across different reef sites of the GBR. In doing so, a goal was to provide standard operating and reporting procedures to achieve scalability via coordinated practices. Upscaling is most viable with a collective effort of many people, in many locations, and so this second stage therefore led to the development of the Coral Nurture Program. The same coral propagation and out-planting methods are the foundation of this next stage, but individual GBR sites have different needs, so hence the developing network of practitioners should not be limited to any single method. As a starting point, a selection of high standard tour operators, each with a long-term commitment to specific locations, united as participants for this stage. The number was restricted to six reefs (but multiple sites) for this year as lessons were learnt across more diverse sites and operations. The funding enabled the essential science to be undertaken, without which such a program would be impossible. The project coordinators and participants added in-kind contributions.

  • June 2018 to February 2019 - Feasibility of broad propagation and out-planting at a single reef site.

    Australian & Queensland Government challenge “Boosting Coral Abundance on the GBR” Stage 1 – Feasibility. UTS and Wavelength Reef Cruises were one of six successful projects to be funded. This project looked at solving the key bottleneck of reef restoration, which is the slow speed and high cost of out-planting corals. This was achieved by testing the effectiveness of a new out-plant method that had previously been designed by Wavelength Reef Cruises (Coralclip®). The funding enabled scientific testing to be undertaken of the deployment of 25 research nursery frames and out-planting of 5800 coral fragments. This was boosted by in-kind contributions from UTS and Wavelength Reef Cruises.

  • February 2018 - First multi-species coral nursery established on the GBR

    Research nursery started with a focus upon optimising coral propagation for GBR sites, topographies and environments. Wavelength Reef Cruises in partnership with Prof Dave Suggett and Dr Emma Camp of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) established the first multi-species coral nursery on the GBR at two of Wavelength Reef Cruises sites at Opal Reef. This start-up and pilot stage was self-funded.

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