From Hawaii to Australia and Mauritius, coral reef conservation efforts are taking place all over the world. While coral reef conservation is part of the larger field of maritime conservation, it is just as important. After all, if coral reefs were to die out, this could mean several species of fish dying out as well as the ocean’s natural balance being destroyed. In order to prevent this from happening, you now have the opportunity to become acoral reef conservation volunteer.
With your help, coral reef conservation organizations around the world can do their part to stop the destruction of coral reefs around the globe. If you greatly enjoy scuba diving, this kind of voluntary work will certainly be right up your alley. However, you need not be an expert diver already in order to be able to volunteer in this field. Instead, you can also contact PADI in order to get your diving license before volunteering. Just allow plenty of time before you leave to complete the required coursework and test. In what follows, we are going to tell all prospective candidates what they need to know as a future coral reef conservation volunteer abroad so that they can be prepared. Also find out what threats coral reefs across the world face below.
Threats to Coral Reefs
As a prospective coral reef conservation volunteer, this is one of the questions that you will likely be asking yourself. Unfortunately, coral reefs across the globe find themselves faced with a multitude of threats. The following factors certainly play a big part in putting the survival of coral reefs worldwide at risk:
- Climate change/ global warming
- Excessive/ illegal/ unsustainable fishing
Why does coral reef conservation matter?
As such, a multidisciplinary approach to coral reef conservation is very much required in order to not just address the above mentioned threats, but also prevent new threats from emerging in the first place. Due to unsustainable fishing, several fish species, which are important both economically and ecologically speaking, can be lost altogether. The ripple effect of these losses might be hard to estimate, but is sure to be felt by the local coral reef. Coral reef ecosystems only work as long as all of the important fish species survive. Once these fish become extinct, this thus has a life-threatening impact on coral reefs as well. As a logical consequence, the death of coral reefs in turn causes even more maritime species to die. As was already mentioned, climate change is also having a huge impact on coral reefs that could lead to disastrous consequences. This is true for the following reasons:
- An increase in sea-surface temperatures
- Rising sea levels
- Changed precipitation patterns
- Changed currents
- Changed storm intensity
Coral reefs all over the world are having a hard time adjusting to all of the above mentioned changes at once. Sadly, this means that more disease incidents and coral breaching are the natural consequence of these phenomena. Moreover, increased CO2 in the atmosphere is responsible for a changed chemistry of the ocean, which is a further threat to corals and can harm them in the long run. In turn, this also goes to show why complex and multifaceted coral reef conservation efforts are needed in order to save any and all remaining coral reefs. As a prospective coral reef conservation volunteer abroad, you will find that land-based pollution sources can harm coral reefs as well. All of the following factors can disturb the way in which corals function and thus lead to diseases, too:
- Costal development
- Agricultural Runoff
Given that some types of corals only grow a little over 0.1 inches per year, it is hard to undo the damages once they have been done. Hence, being proactive and doing what you can as a coral reef conservation volunteer now is all the more important. If you want your children to be able to take a PADI scuba diving class and enjoy the stunning beauty of the ocean and its coral reefs in the future, the time to sign up for this line of voluntary work is now.
Where you will be volunteering in coral reef conservation?
Your coral reef conservation voluntary work could take you to many corners of this earth. From the coast of Africa to Australia and Hawaii, there are coral reefs that are in danger of being completely destroyed all over the world. Perhaps you would like to know that there are about 800 different species of corals that build reefs, which have been identified to this day. Most of these corals are found both in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, which is why most coral reef conservation volunteers find themselves traveling to these regions. In particular, a lot of coral reef conservation efforts are taking place in the following countries, since more than 600 different coral species can be found in the so-called Coral Triangle alone:
If your goal as a coral reef conservation volunteer is to protect coral diversity, these are some of the countries that you will definitely want to travel to.
How to Become a Volunteer in Coral Reef Conservation?
Before you embark on your journey as a coral reef conservation volunteer, we would like to tell you more about the tasks that you can expect to be completing in this line of voluntary work. From scuba diving with tourists in order to raise funds for your coral reef conservation program to educating the local population as well as tourists on what they can do to protect coral reef diversity, you are not going to get bored anytime soon. Coral, lagoon, and fish monitoring will likely be part of your job description as a coral reef conservation volunteer, too. Mangrove and beach cleaning are other important coral reef conservation tasks that you will be asked to participate in. While you will likely spend most of your time outdoors, data input and other office tasks might also be on the agenda. Nevertheless, your time at a coral reef conservation program will also be incredibly rewarding. After all, being a coral reef conservation volunteer will probably teach you some of the following skills as well:
- Develop greater marine-based knowledge
- Cultivate a better understanding of the marine ecosystem
- Learn new research methods
- Improve your social skills