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June 2014: A Floating Workshop for Maui Leaders / "Bring Back the Color" / Get Dazzled on CORAL's New Zazzle Page / Fish, Reefs, and Nutrients / Celebrating World Oceans Day

On May 31, CORAL representatives joined local leaders in Maui to visit the island's reefs; photo by Amanda Stone
A Floating Workshop for Maui Leaders

On May 31, local and state leaders from Maui enjoyed a special tour of Hawai‘i’s most precious natural and economic resource—coral reefs.

Participants—a “who’s who” from within area government, hotel management, and other sectors critical to Hawai‘i’s future—donned their snorkel gear to explore both healthy and stressed reefs at Olowalu and within the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA), and learned how businesses, nonprofits, and agencies are coming together to protect these vital ecosystems.

Hosted by Trilogy Excursions, and coordinated by CORAL, the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative, and the Division of Aquatic Resources, the half-day charter aimed to educate decision-makers about the values of and threats to reefs, and to engage them in developing ideas for continued and enhanced collaboration. Read More View Photos

Medfield High School students' video breaks down coral bleaching and how viewers can help; image courtesy of Population Connection
"Bring Back the Color"

We at CORAL are often impressed by the passion and talent of young people—and the high school students who wrote, directed, and produced Climate Change—Bring Back the Color, have both in spades. Seven students from Medfield, MA, received an Honorable Mention award in Population Connection’s World of 7 Billion contest for their video which links population growth, climate change, and coral bleaching.

Skylar Laakso and her classmates Alyssa Shulman, Julia Pagliarulo, Sienna Fitzpatrick, Emily Monac, Caroline Melville, and Erin Matthews chose to make their video about coral bleaching after researching a host of topics and realizing how little they—and others—knew about this often overlooked result of a warming climate. They were also inspired to donate their $250 prize award to CORAL.

Asked what they wanted viewers to take away from the video, Skylar replied, “We really wanted people to realize that they could do something to reduce their impact on the environment.” Watch the Video

Proceeds from merchandise at our new Zazzle store will benefit CORAL's work.
Get Dazzled on CORAL's New Zazzle Page

Since our awesome new logo was unveiled last year, we’ve received numerous requests from our community for CORAL gear. If you’re one of those who’ve been craving a hat, t-shirt, cell phone case, or other product that will let you show your support for CORAL, you’ll want to check out our new Zazzle page. The best part? When you buy something, a portion of your purchase comes back to us and goes straight to protecting coral reefs. Want to see a CORAL product that we haven't thought of? Let us know at, and we'll consider adding it to our shop. Shop for CORAL Merchandise

A new University of Georgia study indicates that fish populations are even more important to reef health than previously thought; photo by CORAL staff
Fish, Reefs, and Nutrients

Past research has clearly linked excess nutrients to coral reef decline: when there’s too much nitrogen and phosphorus, algae can thrive and overgrow coral polyps. A recent study led by ecologists from the University of Georgia proposes that fish may play a more active role in managing these nutrients on reefs than may have been previously believed.

Lead author Jacob Allgeier and his team set out to see if—and how—reef fish manage nutrient levels on coral reefs. They used field measurements and models to determine how much nitrogen and phosphorus fish stored and deposited. They discovered that while the total amount varied depending on the size and diversity of the fish community, the ratio was the same at four different reef sites: approximately 20 parts nitrogen to one part phosphorus. This proportion is also that under which coral reefs thrive.

What does this mean for managing coral reefs? "It's important to incorporate fish nutrient dynamics into the conservation of these ecosystems,” says Allgeier. “Fish are clearly playing an important role; we now just need to better understand exactly what this role is." Read More

Do you have any cool photos from World Oceans Day? We'd love to see them! Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Celebrating World Oceans Day

Thousands and thousands of people around the world observed World Oceans Day on Sunday, June 8. How did you celebrate? Send us your photos of you enjoying, and even helping, reefs on World Oceans Day. We’ll randomly select one photo and post it on our Facebook page for our 25,000+ fans to view; if your photo is chosen, you’ll receive a copy of Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures from the Census of Marine Life by CORAL Board member Dr. Nancy Knowlton. Email Your Photo

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Coral Reef Alliance
351 California Street, Suite 650
San Francisco, California 94104