Volunteer of the Reef Restoration Foundation

Coral recovered from the bottom of the sea


Reef Restoration Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the reproduction of corals for the reforestation of the seabed affected by coral bleaching.

This foundation emerged as a result of the most important bleaching episodes that occurred in the history of The Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017, which were also worsened by a severe cyclone affecting large areas. These phenomena caused almost two thirds of The Great Barrier Reef to be destroyed.

The foundation is responsible for collecting coral fragments that survived and begin to reproduce them. This process is similar to taking plant stems to grow new ones from them. The first generation of corals exceeded the expectations of the foundation, since in just eight months they grew more than twice their original size and were planted on The Great Barrier Reef.

What is coral bleaching?

Coral bleaching is due to stress induced by the expulsion or death of the protozoan symbiotic (Zooxanthellae) or by the loss of protozoan pigmentation. Corals that form large system structures in tropical seas depend on the symbiotic relationship with this protozoan that gives the coral its coloration. Under stress, the coral expels its zooxanthellae, which gives it a clear or completely white tone, thus the term “bleaching”.

Causes to expel the protozoan:

– Even a slight increase or decrease in water temperature.

– Flowering of algae harmful to coral.

– Increase of solar radiation.

– Changes in water chemistry (in particular acidification).

– Starvation caused by the decline in zooplankton.

– Increase in sedimentation

– Pathogenic infections

– Changes in salinity

– Wind

– Air exposure at low tide


Currently, the coral farm is located on Fitzroy Island, and that is where coral trees are found and where coral pieces are collected to be planted. Remember that coral is not only destroyed by bleaching but also by external factors such as tourist overexposure.

Every day thousands of people visit The Great Barrier Reef and the islands that make it up, including Fitzroy. Unfortunately, not everyone is equally careful and there are many broken pieces of healthy corals that can be used to restore the reef.

The first step:

Recover fragments of healthy coral by either cutting them from the mother colonies or collecting healthy fragments from the sea bottom.

The second step:

Sort, take samples and eliminate dead parts of the selected stems.

The third step:

Replanting corals can be done in two different ways. Plant large and healthy fragments directly on the sea bottom, in depopulated areas, with epoxy glue. Smaller fragments are hung on coral trees and after 6-12 months, planted in areas in need of recovery.

In addition, there is a maintenance work and control of coral trees, since they are affected by the growth of algae and must be cleaned affected to prevent them from suffocating which could cause their death.

We can also select some samples and take photos of them over time to control their growth. All this work is done by the volunteers of the foundation and analyzed by its marine biologists of the same and JCU scientists.



It is certainly a very nice project and I feel very proud to participate and contribute with my grain of sand to help sustain the planet. Although the conditions for entering in the project as a coral farm volunteer are complicated, there are many different ways to collaborate with the foundation.

If you are interested in collaborating with the foundation or you want further info, I include the following link to the foundation’s website: https://reefrestorationfoundation.org/


Armiche, Upper-Intermediate A

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About CCEB

We are teachers and students at the Cairns College of English and Business (CCEB). How lucky are we to work and study in the Australian Wet Tropics with the world's oldest rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef at our doorstep! We would like to share our happy posts with the world! Welcome to the CCEB space eveyone.

6 thoughts on “Volunteer of the Reef Restoration Foundation

  1. Hi Armiche
    This is the most amazing presentation I have ever read.
    Thank you for sharing with us the information about climate changes which cause coral bleaching.
    Also thanks for showing us how a marine biologist saves and repairs corals.
    I think that’s a great experience to discover about our marine life.
    I’m happy for you to get this opportunity to participate in this project.

    1. Hi Maggie, I’m glad to hear this.
      I wanted to share my experience with all of you because I think this foundation is doing a great job to conserve the environment. And I hope that my small contribution helps to solve the problem.
      Thanks for your words!

  2. Hello Armiche,
    Thank you for teaching us in your presentention what i didn’t know about coral. I didn’t know you
    can clean coral trees with a brush just like in your video. Also, I didn’t know coral is going to grow after 6-12 months. I think coral is very important for the GBR. Armiche when did you get your diving licence? I respect you doing this job. Please continue.

    1. Hi Yummi,
      I am very happy to hear this and that you liked the presentation.
      Like you say the coral is important for The Great Barrier Reef and in the rest of the world too, a lot of marine life is born and lives at coral reefs.
      Scuba diving is one of my passions in life and I started to dive seventeen years ago. I was living in an island so it was difficult not to explore the sea.
      Thank you for your support.

  3. Hi Armiche!
    What a wonderful job and an interesting project. I had never heard about this practice before you told me. It’s even more interesting because it’s open for everybody, and not only scientists or professional people, which in my opinion is the best way to engage the public. The ocean is in great danger and some people who are concerned and want to help might be happy to join this type of project. Your article could as well help to make the foundation more popular and, who knows, make people think about their behaviour towards the environment. I reckon some tourists who disrespect the reef are not necessarily hurting it on purpose but just by ignorance. This is educational work to make people more aware and responsible for their actions.
    The restoration of the reef seems to be a good solution when a huge destruction occurs such as after a cyclone. However, I wonder if it’s really feasible long-term? Coral bleaching caused by the increasing water temperature will sadly never stop. Climate change will make it happen more and more, the water is always getting warmer and storms are always more violent. Does it mean that the work is to start again and again?
    Well, anyway, thank you for sharing your experience with us, I really enjoyed it. And congratulations on this work! The earth needs people to take part in its protection and yours is an amazing example.

  4. Hello, Armiche.
    Thank you for sharing this blog. I haven’t known about coral and its bleaching.
    I think the environment surrounding the coral is getting worse because of the environmental problems such as global warming and pollution.
    If I have a chance to go to The Great Barrier Reef, I’ll remember what you taught me through this blog.
    Thank you for telling us.

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