The Rescue A Reef (RAR) program is a Citizen Science project that utilizes recreational SCUBA divers to help restore threatened populations of Acropora cervicornis (staghorn coral) along the Florida Reef Tract. This report aims to enhance the RAR program by evaluating the efficacy of its Citizen Scientist participants and by demonstrating a proof of concept method for growing Massive coral species within coral nurseries. Citizen Scientist outplants were determined to be of equal quality when compared to lab outplants showing that RAR expeditions are worthwhile restoration endeavors. Size class was found to have a significant effect on mortality and attachment leading to the recommendation that RAR expeditions begin trying to use larger outplants. Epoxy was shown to have a significant effect for small outplant corals and its use should be continued for RAR outplants. Massive coral growth rates in the nursery were demonstrated to be viable for restoration but initial mortality during micro-fragmentation suggests that more work needs to be done before large scale gardening can be achieved.
Burdeno, Daniel, "Expanding the rescue a reef program: assessing efficacy of citizen scientists and adding massive species" (2016). Internship Reports (Restricted). 14.
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