Saving coral reefs one species at a time

10 January 2023, 18:00 - 19:30 (GMT)

Coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems, harbouring at least a quarter of all marine species, and providing a wealth of ecosystem services. They are also highly threatened by local pressures, such as overfishing, and climate change-induced disturbances - most imminently, increases in sea temperatures leading to coral bleaching. Whilst there is a colossal ongoing effort to protect reefs globally, from high-level policy agreements to on-the-ground enforcement of local marine protected areas, more must be done if functioning reefs are to survive into the next century and beyond. The vast majority of these conservation techniques are implemented on an ecosystem level because many coral species are thought to serve the same ecological role. Therefore, corals are rarely targeted for conservation interventions at a species level, but there are some instances where this is valid, either for a species’ critical role in reef-building, their evolutionary distinctiveness, or simply to maintain reef biodiversity.

This event will explore how and why conservation interventions are being carried out for individual coral species, their level of success, and impact on the reef ecosystem. We will focus on some of the best-known examples of species-level conservation from across the globe and the conservation methods used, including exciting developments in novel coral reproduction techniques.


  • Dr Jamie Craggs, Horniman Museum & Gardens: "Reflections on a decade of ex situ broadcast coral spawning research, sustainable aquaculture and reef restoration practises"
  • Dr Fran Cabada, University of Portsmouth & EDGE of Existence Marine & Freshwater Specialist, ZSL: "A pillar story on why we need to look back at coral species to conserve reefs"
  • Dr Bryan Wilson, University of Oxford: "The Chagos brain coral (Ctenella chagius): the world’s rarest coral"

Organised by Dr Catherine Head, Institute of Zoology, and chaired by Rachel Jones, Conservation & Policy, ZSL.

Find out more about the speakers and their talks here: PDF icon Agenda and Abstracts - Saving coral reefs one species at a time - 10 Jan 2023.pdf (351.63 KB) (351.63 KB)


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