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Mars Coral Reef

Diving into Conservation: My Journey

A biologist's pursuit of coral reef preservation through the Sheba Hope Advocate Program.

I'm Nadine Bauer, a biologist, diving instructor, and underwater photographer originally from Germany and now enjoying the sun in Malta. I am excited to take you on my remarkable journey through the Sheba Hope Advocate Program (SAP) and how it is revolutionizing coral reef conservation through the MARRS method.

As someone who cares deeply about the underwater world, I have always been acutely aware of the threats to our oceans. From rising temperatures to pollution, the ecosystems I cherish so much are in grave danger. When I came across SAP, it was like finding a group of like-minded people determined to make a difference.

SAP was not just another conservation program, but an insight into a vibrant community of passionate ocean advocates from around the world. Connecting with people who shared my enthusiasm for saving coral reefs was nothing short of exhilarating.

Reef Star web built by the SAP Advocates of 2023, in Indonesia

During my time in Makassar, I learned about the MARRS method, the `Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System`. This method is a game changer in coral reef restoration. It helps corals grow in a way that strengthens the entire reef structure.

We attached coral fragments to reef stars, creating an underwater web that stabilize loose rubble fields and provide a stable platform for out-planted corals to thrive. Over time, the corals completely cover these reef stars and become a permanent part of the reef. This process not only creates new habitats for marine life but also encourages the establishment of more native corals. It's like bringing a reef back to life.

One of the most inspiring aspects of my experience was seeing how the entire team worked together seamlessly. From collecting coral to building the reef web, everyone knew their role and contributed to the mission

The community of Bontosua Island works seamlessly together on attaching corals on the Reef Stars

Working with local communities in Indonesia was a beautiful experience. It reinforced the idea that coral reef conservation is a collective effort, not an isolated endeavor.

From educating school kids about marine life to training them in scuba diving and restoring their reefs, it was lovely to see how communities rallied for the cause. By involving them in the process and appointing ambassadors from various community groups, it was ensured that the reef restoration efforts would lead to sustainable livelihoods and positive behavior change.

Everybody helps to transport the Reef Stars to the new reef site.

My journey with SAP was an incredible experience. It taught me that every action, no matter how small, can have a big impact on our planet. It's not just about saving coral reefs, it's about securing our future. I encourage each of you to discover your passion, get involved, and be part of the solution. Whether you are a diver, a scientist, or just someone who loves the ocean, everyone can join the fight to protect our oceans. Together, we can make a difference.

Flourishing coral reef restoration by using the MARRS