Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Coral Reefs

September21

Coral reefs around the world are dying. In the Caribbean alone, there is less than half the coral that was there in the 1970s. Scientists believe that there are a number of factors that are contributing to the loss of the coral: global warming, diseases, over fishing, and pollution.

In The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs (Chronicle Books), author Kate Messner and illustrator Matthew Forsythe introduce readers to Ken Nedimyer and The Coral Restoration Foundation. Ken grew up loving the ocean and being inspired by Jacques Cousteau and his underwater exploration. As a boy, he snorkeled and learned to scuba dive to go out on his own explorations of the Florida coral reefs. Ken became so intrigued with the reefs and fish that he started aquariums at home, and even tended thirty of them in his bedroom.

As an adult, Ken observed the decaying coral reefs and the scarcity of sea urchins who controlled the algae. At that time, Ken was operating a live rock farm in the Florida Keys. He observed that staghorn corals, which are protected, were spawning and growing among the rocks. This gave him an idea, and Ken and his daughter cut off pieces of the coral and attached them to other rocks to grow a colony. As they grew, Ken cut off pieces and experimented with transplanting them in one of the dying coral reefs.

Ken soon gathered volunteers to help him with his experiment, and they continued to transplant coral. Thus, began the Coral Restoration Foundation whose mission is to restore the reefs. They now tend coral farms, and they are helping to rebuild the reefs one piece of coral at a time.

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