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Reef Rescuers is a coral reef restoration project funded by USAID (United States Agency for International Development), implemented by Nature Seychelles, a leading environmental NGO located in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. The project aims to restore coral reefs by adopting current best practice methods to test coral reef restoration at a large scale (more than 10,000 coral transplants). Based on the “reef gardening” concept, these current best practice methods, promulgated by the World Bank/GEF Coral Reef Targeted Research were used with the assistance of international experts. The first phase generated a pool of 40,000 farmed coral colonies (fragments from healthy donor colonies, or corals of opportunity –corals detached with no chance of survival) reared in underwater nurseries to transplantable size. The second phase consisted of transplanting over 25,000 nursery-grown corals onto a degraded reef. In the process, Reef Rescuers developed new techniques suitable for large scale coral reef restoration with the resources found at SIDS (Small Island Developing States). We are now offering certified training in coral reef restoration based on our experience.


Course description
This 6-week training program is designed for scientists, managers, practitioners, and local communities requiring a solid foundation on coral reef restoration using the coral reef gardening concept. The course curriculum requires previous knowledge of basic reef ecology, the scientific method and SCUBA diving certification.

In addition to learning how to complete a coral reef restoration project using the coral reef gardening concept, how to build mid water nurseries and how to outplant corals onto a degraded reef site, the course provides guidance on appropriate design, logistics, and evaluation of the project based on the Reef Rescuers’ experience in the Republic of Seychelles, Western Indian Ocean. Thus, the program includes practice of low-cost field tested methods as well as troubleshooting problems encountered in field conditions.

Week 1 
Academic sessions
-Registration and introduction
-Review of coral reef ecology concepts
-Defining coral reef restoration and coral reef gardening
-Donor site and coral species selection
-Selection of sites for reef restoration and nursery constructing
Practical sessions
-SCUBA diving skills check-up
-Coral and fish identification 
-Site selection surveys
-Donor site and species surveys

Week 2 
Academic and practical sessions
-Site demarcation 
-Net nursery construction
-Rope nursery construction

Week 3
Academic and practical sessions
-Donor fragment collection
-Nursery stocking
-Nursery maintenance
-Rope and net nursery transfer

Week 4 
Academic sessions
-Preparing for coral transplantation
-Demographic and spatial considerations for transplantation
-Methods of coral transplantation 
-Practical sessions 
-Transportation of corals to transplantation site
-Natural cleaning stations 
-Cement transplantation of individual colonies

Week 5
Academic and sessions
-Underwater survey methods
-Scientific data quality control and archiving
-Monitoring of donor, nursery-grown and translated colonies
-Resilience assessment of coral reefs
-Research project design and execution
Practical sessions
-Small-research projects design and fieldwork 
-Monitoring donor and control colonies
-Monitoring nursery colonies
-Monitoring transplantation site
-Resilience assessment of coral reefs

Week 6 
Academic sessions
-Project management
-Team selection
-Field operations
-Funding reef restoration projects
-Data analysis and reporting 
Practical sessions
-Small-research projects fieldwork
-Small-research projects presentations
-Course evaluation
-Course debriefing

The course is aimed to scientists, managers, practitioners, and local communities actively working in the field of marine biology and reef conservation. Practical marine research experience, however limited, will be helpful, but is not required. SCUBA certification is required and applicants will need to meet Nature Seychelles’ standards for "temporary diver" status.

The total cost is US $2,950 for the course. The cost includes accommodation, supplies, boat trips, tanks and weights, air fills, and facility fees, but does not cover travel and meals. You should bring your own laptop and dive gear (except tanks and weights).

Sarah Frias-Torres, PhD, Reef Rescuers Coordinator
Phanor Montoya-Maya, PhD, Reef Rescuers Technical/Scientific officer


To enroll
By April 24, 2015, send an email with “Reef Rescuers Training Program 2015” in the subject line to Dr Phanor H Montoya-Maya (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), indicating your interest (i.e. why do you want to take this course? how will you use the training in your career?) and a CV. Please specify how likely you are to participate, assuming that you will have to pay $2,950 by the end of May. The course is limited to 8 participants.

Our History

Since 1998.

Seychelles Nature, Green HealthClimate Change, Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability Organisation

@CousinIsland Manager


Roche Caiman, Mahe

Contact Us

Centre for Environment & Education

Roche Caiman,

P.O. Box 1310, Mahe, Seychelles

Tel:+ 248 2519090