Written by CARLY SUTHERLAND
Coral reefs are intricate ecosystems that quite literally breathe life into the world's oceans, but they are under threat.
Destruction of reefs – such as mass coral bleaching – is the result of a combination of factors including climate change and pollution.
Scientists and communities are dedicated to protecting these marine environments, and in some destinations, travellers can help too by taking part in coral regeneration schemes.
What are coral regeneration schemes?
They are used to restore damaged and endangered reef ecosystems. Scientists collect coral fragments from reefs to be raised in nurseries until maturity, and later plant or restore them at reef sites.
After decades of work by scientific and community-based coalitions around the world, these schemes have been proven as an effective method for restoring thriving reef systems.
Why are coral restoration efforts good for the sustainability of oceans?
Coral reefs are lush underwater ecosystems, thought to be the home of around 25% of all marine life. These ecosystems provide homes, stability, and sustainability to many marine flora and fauna.
They also protect coastal shorelines from storms and surges, and help with water filtration. This makes them an essential part of this planet. Coral restoration works to protect these environments.
How you can join coral restoration efforts around the world
Caring for coral reefs begins at an individual level, and knowing how to be a responsible diver is key. But there are also organisations around the world that accept volunteers.
There you can learn from marine biologists, conservationists and divers and, with the correct support, get directly involved with coral regeneration schemes.
As with any volunteering opportunity, do your research ahead of time to assess the suitability of the scheme.