Newswise — Woods Hole, MA (May 26, 2022) – Coral reefs play a vital role in sustaining the health of our ocean and our planet, but they are dying at an alarming rate and about half have disappeared, just in our lifetimes.
In advance of World Ocean Day on June 8, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is launching its Give Reefs a Chance campaign, aimed at raising awareness of what WHOI scientists and engineers are doing to tackle the corals crisis, the importance of coral reefs, and what we can all do to give reefs a chance to survive.
“Above all, this campaign is about helping people understand that it’s not too late for coral reefs. If we focus on just a few key areas like early diagnosis and action to support threatened reefs, developing advanced technologies, and building collaborations with local communities, we can preserve the reefs we have left and become better stewards of these precious ocean ecosystems,” said WHOI Vice President for Advancement and Chief Marketing Officer Sam Harp. “WHOI is a leader in comprehensive coral research. We have tools and expertise needed to turn the tide. But we can’t do this alone. We need the support of a global community that cares about corals.”
Considered the “rainforests of the ocean,” coral reefs provide shelter for between one-quarter and one-third of all marine species, support the lives and livelihoods of up to one billion people, and generate goods and services worth an estimated $2.7 trillion each year. But since the 1950s, the world has lost about half of its coral reefs - 14 percent in the last decade alone - threatened by warming seas, ocean acidification, rising sea level, and a host of other human activities at global and local scales. The comprehensive public-awareness and educational campaign, “Give Reefs a Chance” will include:
- An engaging “Give Reefs a Chance” campaign website highlighting what WHOI scientists and engineers are doing to confront the coral crisis and what we all can do to become a “reef ally”.
- A comprehensive social media and email campaign.
- Out-of-home advertising including bus wraps on key Boston transit routes, running from May 30 - June 26.
- A special Ocean Encounters live event – “Giving Reefs a Chance: How science and technology can help corals in crisis” on World Ocean Day, June 8, 2022; free and open to the public.
- A new short film, “Hope for Corals in Crisis”, premiering at the June 8 Ocean Encounters event.
- A special coral-themed edition of WHOI’s award-winning Oceanus magazine
- Educational and entertaining new content, including a “Did You Know” video series, “7 things you can do to be ‘reef-safe’, and a coral reefs quiz.
- New coral-themed merchandise available at the WHOI Store.
- A new coral exhibit in the WHOI Discovery Center in Woods Hole.
Together, the collective parts of Give Reefs a Chance will amplify the importance of protecting and restoring coral reefs and WHOI’s plan to confront the crisis, as well as the fact that doing so is a responsibility that belongs to everyone on the planet. In addition to the direct actions of scientists, engineers, government leaders, and policymakers, a global effort by the public is needed to ensure a future for coral reefs in a healthy, vital ocean that supports us all.
“Science must lead the way in developing solutions if there is to be hope for coral reefs in a rapidly changing world,” said WHOI President and Director Peter de Menocal. “There is reason for optimism, but only if we act with purpose and with courage. Only then will we be able to give coral reefs the chance they truly deserve.”
About Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering—one that has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in basic and applied ocean research and exploration anywhere. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation and operate the most extensive suite of data-gathering platforms in the world. Top scientists, engineers, and students collaborate on more than 800 concurrent projects worldwide—both above and below the waves—pushing the boundaries of knowledge and possibility. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu