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This project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, will combine research-based reef restoration tools with the power of citizen science to establish a showcase coral restoration site at Paradise Reef just offshore Miami, FL!


By focusing on a single, high-value site and collaborating with citizen scientists, we aim to have a rapid impact on reef health, resilience, and stewardship! The communities affected by the state of coastal resources need to be integral participants in their protection and restoration. Our “Community Coral Garden” project provides citizen scientists an opportunity to play an active role in restoration at meaningful scales (> 25% of corals will be planted by citizen scientists!) as well as to contribute to coral monitoring, predator removal, and plastic pollution reduction through offshore expeditions!

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We will monitor restoration success using colony-based metrics (i.e., colony survivorship, growth) as well as ecosystem-based metrics (i.e., herbivory, fish abundance, coral recruitment, carbonate production). We will also complete disease surveys and interventions to combat the impacts and spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) with the support of citizen scientists!

community access

Community Access

We will deploy public mooring buoys to increase accessibility and enjoyment of the restoration site! A QR code attached to the buoy will provide project information and allow visitors to upload images and report coral bleaching, disease, and/or marine debris as citizen scientists. To learn more about how you can access and monitor the showcase reef site, click here


We will outplant 10,000 elkhorn and staghorn corals from at least 80 genotypes, 2,000 brain and star corals from at least 5 coral species, and 2,000 coral larval recruits. This will increase abundance, cover, diversity, and enhance fish habitat! 


Citizen Science

We will host coral restoration expeditions where citizen scientists can contribute to nursery maintenance and coral outplanting. In this project, > 25% of all corals outplanted will be planted by citizen scientists! We will also team up with Debris Free Oceans to host additional expeditions to monitor the reef restoration site for coral bleaching, disease, and predators while removing harmful marine debris.

We need your help!

Citizen scientists will be a critical component of the Community Coral Garden project! Community members will have the opportunity to help garden the project’s coral nursery; outplant coral colonies (> 25% of all corals!); monitor restoration success; monitor bleaching and disease prevalence; complete predator removals; and complete debris removal and data collection with Debris Free Oceans 


Interested in learning more about coral biology and restoration in the meantime? Watch any of our youtube videos, especially our Coral Classroom shorts, or visit any of our social medias @rescueareef. Browse the Lirman lab's latest publications here. For our latest dive and outreach photography, check out our photo gallery 


Interested in getting involved? Sign up for our email list for updates and opportunities or monitor our events calendar to find the dates of our next expeditions and outreach events!

Citizen Science Trainings

This project utilizes the Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN) which is a citizen reporting and response system that aims to protect and manage offshore coral reefs. Through SEAFAN's online submission form, any unusual sightings, including marine debris; vessel groundings and anchor damage; invasive species; harmful algal blooms; fish disease and fish kills; discolored water; and coral disease and bleaching can be reported. There is no special training needed and no further participation is required; just report what, when, and where the incident was observed! 

Interested in contributing to the official BleachWatch Observer Network? Enroll in SEAFAN’s BleachWatch training to learn how to identify coral species, diseases, and bleaching so you can help steward our coral reefs! You can sign up here to be contacted once when is scheduled. 

If you are already a trained BleachWatch observer, you are welcome to visit the Community Coral Garden reef restoration site at any time to provide a formal report! To submit your BleachWatch data, click here. 

We thank the Community Coral Garden Partners