50 Reefs is a one year initiative that aims to bolster existing coral reef conservation efforts globally by identifying coral reefs that are less vulnerable to climate change and have the greatest capacity to reseed other reefs over time.
A panel of the world's leading coral reef scientists have completed their research to help identify coral reefs that are likely to be the least vulnerable to climate change and that also have the greatest capacity to reseed other reefs over time. This landmark study, advised by a prestigious Scientific Steering Group (SSG), has analyzed over seventy variables to help determine each reef’s probable climate vulnerability and its connectivity to other reefs. The global study is being led by The Centre of Excellence in Environmental Decisions at The Global Change Institute, University of Queensland. The results of this study, the first of its kind and based on the best available science, is currently being peer reviewed process. Once published, the details of the study and datasets used made publicly available to insure a transparent process that other scientists can build on.
Knowledge gained during the 50 Reefs initiative will be used to protect coral reefs from global and local threats. The conservation team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society is undertaking an exhaustive process of evaluating new and existing reef conservation approaches, with the goal of to creating a curated list of strategies that could be used to achieve effective, long-term protection of coral reefs in the face of the inevitable impacts of climate change. Each of the 50 Reefs partners will announce its own conservation programs in 2018 - The International Year of the Reef. Conservation action will be carried out in partnership with governments, scientists, businesses, local organizations and other community members.
Communication surrounding the 50 Reefs initiative has helped inspire public and stakeholder support - not just for the protection of specific reef sites, but also action around the world to combat climate change. The Ocean Agency has led this global communications effort and is now directing a multi-year outreach plan as the communications directors for The International Year of the Reef in 2018. The Ocean Agency is highly experienced in this kind of communication having participated in an award-winning documentary about the coral reef crisis called Chasing Coral and pioneering the use of underwater 360-degree photography, inventing the camera that took Street View underwater, during the XL Catlin Seaview Survey.