Get to Know Our Team: Francesca Virdis

  Francesca Virdis Chief Operating Officer Francesca Virdis has played an integral role in coral restoration efforts on Bonaire since 2010, 2 years before the inception of Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire. Over the last decade, she’s spearheaded the growth of the organization from just 2 small nurseries to 13, not to mention almost 20 restoration ...

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Revealing the Unique Genetic Fingerprint of Corals through Genotypic Analysis

By Allie Blanchette About 25 different genotypes of staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) and 30 genotypes of elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) are raised in Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire’s (RRFB) nurseries before eventually being outplanted onto the reef. Florida State University PhD candidate Allie Blanchette teamed up with RRFB to conduct genetic analysis on A. cervicornis and ...

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Outplanting a Boulder, More Resilient Reef

For the first time ever, RRFB has outplanted 3 species of boulder coral back to Bonaire’s reefs: lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis), mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata), and great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa). In late 2022, we began outplanting boulder coral fragments that were propagated via fragmentation almost 2 years prior and reared in nurseries. ...

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Restoring endangered Staghorn and Elkhorn corals on Bonaire

Outplanted Elkhorn Corals
For 10 years, Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire has been restoring the critically endangered Staghorn and Elkhorn corals on Bonaire. Through coral gardening techniques, the Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis are grown in our coral nurseries and are outplanted on the reef. Our restoration sites show that our methods have been successful, as our nursery-grown corals ...

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Coral spawning predictions for Bonaire 2022

Grooved Brain Coral Spawning
Coral spawning is a magical phenomenon that occurs when corals sexually reproduce, which happens every year on reefs around the world. The Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI) has published its 2022 coral spawning prediction calendar for Bonaire and the South Caribbean. With this report, our team at the Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire has ...

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Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire celebrates 10 years of coral restoration

It has been 10 years since the first coral nursery was installed in Bonaire, kick-starting the island coral restoration project and giving a helping hand to our beautiful and endangered coral reefs. Fast forward to today, and Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire (RRFB) is a successful organization, recognized worldwide for its tangible restoration results, the continued ...

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Caring for Coral in Bonaire

Many scientists believe we are at the stage where no part of Earth, from rainforests to ice caps to oceans, is free from human impact. It has been labeled the ‘era of mass extinction’, largely caused by humans. My PhD research explores how we, as individuals and as a society, can care more about the ...

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Announcing BEST2.0+ funding

Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire is excited to announce to have received a grant provided by the IUCN through the BEST 2.0+ Programme funded by the European Commission, to further support the project “Larval propagation: an innovative technique to scale-up Bonaire’s reef restoration program” in partnership with SECORE International. Larval propagation techniques The project, which will ...

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Coral Studies: Coral thermal tolerance – By Serena Hackerott

Coral "stress hardening" Corals are vulnerable to multiple environmental stressors including nutrient pollution and rising ocean temperatures. In some cases, experiencing environmental stress can increase a coral’s ability to tolerate later stress exposures. Coral “stress hardening” (exposing corals to moderately stressful conditions with the goal of increasing their stress tolerance) has the potential to increase ...

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