Marine Biology

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There has been a massive decline in coral population worldwide, but the Caribbean Sea has been particularly impacted. The Caribbean was once the home to millions of branching coral, Acropora, but has seen severe degradation in the past few decades due to climate change, pollution, coral disease, bleaching events, overfishing, coastal development and other disturbances. Coral reef restoration has since expanded rapidly with thousands of coral nurseries in the Caribbean alone and has become an important process in maintaining coral reefs in our oceans today. Corals help protect our shorelines, maintain biodiversity in our oceans, provide jobs for fisheries and tourism, and bring money into the communities. The purpose of this review is to review the different types of coral reef restoration methods in the Caribbean and Florida Keys as well as some key complications with solutions to a successful coral restoration. The different methods of coral restoration include coral gardening, transplantation, micro-fragmentation, artificial reefs and genetic diversity in coral larvae. One of the most common and highly successful methods being coral gardening, while transplantation is also widely used. I describe each of these methods in this paper and identify core knowledge gaps and recent discoveries that may improve outplanted and nursery coral survivorship. Ecological processes and the density and arrangement of corals integrated with coral restoration could also impact coral survivorship in a positive way by possibly helping outplanted corals sustain a healthy environment without human intervention. Herbivory, corallivory, lack of nutrients, and diseases all are issues that must be addressed in coral restoration, but recent advances may provide solutions to these issues. Coral restoration is a relatively new process with not many long-term successful projects to learn from. Trial and error is still a big part of coral restoration today as researchers are still learning the best and most successful processes to aid coral survivorship.