Building circular economies through coral cultivation

Project title: Accelerating coral reef conservation, restoration, and sustainable business development in developing nations through the use of ex situ coral spawning
Project leads: Dr Rita Rachmawati and Professor Michael Sweet
Nations involved: UK, Indonesia
Supporting institutions: National Research and Innovation Agency (Indonesia), University of Derby (UK)
Total budget: $895,774
Duration: 36 months

Indonesia is home to the largest coral reef system in the world. It is also one of the most biodiverse. Many of the corals found here are at risk from the aquarium trade, and despite the Indonesian Government limiting the harvesting of ornamental corals from the wild, the majority of these are still illegally collected directly from the reef. Huge advances have already been made in culturing corals, but the more species we can successfully cultivate, the more we can alleviate widespread loss of corals on account of collection pressure. This project will use a novel and portable ‘lab in a box’ apparatus to reproduce rare and ornamental coral species, reducing the reliance of the aquarium trade on wild corals. The corals grown will also have the potential to be used for reef restoration purposes, leveraging sustainable business practice to fund and support local coral reef conservation.