Madeline Kaufman Speaking about Coral Reefs
Coral reefs have been on the decline for the past couple decades, yet millions of people depend on these ecosystems for food, jobs, tourism, recreation, medicinal compounds and coastline protection. With recent global bleaching events, severe disease outbreaks and increasing anthropogenic pressures, reefs have suffered to the point that active human intervention has become necessary. About ten years ago, the Lirman Benthic Ecology Lab at the University of Miami began to actively propagate corals in offshore nurseries and plant them onto the reef. They have planted over 10,000 corals onto the Florida Reef Tract to date. About 3 years ago, they expanded their restoration efforts to a citizen science program, known as Rescue a Reef. As a part of this program, they bring recreational divers out on coral gardening excursions in which divers help maintain the nurseries, collect corals and plant them onto the reef. To date, citizen scientists have helped plant about 3,000 corals. During her presentation, she will talk about the importance of coral reefs, the threats they are facing and what we can do to help.
She is originally from Baltimore, Maryland but came to Miami 6 years ago to pursue a Bachelor of Science in marine science and biology. After graduating in 2016, she took a gap year and became a divemaster with South Beach Divers, began volunteering as outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Debris Free Oceans and worked as a research assistant in two coral research labs at UM. She just returned to school this past January and is pursuing a Master of Science in marine biology, focusing on coral conservation genetics and restoration ecology.