Learning from the father of microfragmentation

From the 13th to the 17th of December I had the privilege of participating in the first Plant a Million Corals’ coral restoration workshop in representation of Corales de Paz. The workshop had a family feel because it was organized in a joint effort by Dr David Vaughan with his daughter Dee Dee and his wife Donna Vaugh, this made all the difference. 

We were received at the Brinton Environmental Center located at Boy Scouts of America’s Florida National High Adventure Sea Base, which whom PAMCF has a very interesting alliance meant to strengthen the BSA STEM ((Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) Program through coral restoration. 

Dr. Vaughn, with help from the BSA STEM Mates walked us through the Coral Restoration Unit (CRU), where we learned in detail about the correct assemble of the work station for ex-situ coral husbandry, coral tanks maintenance, recommendations to maintain water quality and for coral husbandry and off course, microfragmentation techniques and its different uses. CRU’s are PAMCF’s proposal to scale up coral reef restoration by means of easy access, easy installation wet labs.

Dr. Vaughn is the father of microfragmentation. Therefore, receiving all this information from the man himself and being able to ask questions about its origins, new discoveries and applications, was a fascinating experience for all the participants. 

From all my learnings, I can pin point two take home messages. The first one, is that in order to take coral reef restoration to the next level, and be able to call ourselves large scale coral gardeners, we need to implement in-land coral husbandry to increase our possibilities of planting a million corals in the near future, as Dr. Vaughn aims to in Florida.

The last one is his Alliance with the BSA. This is such a visionary idea because cliché and all, children are the future and getting them involved in this type of projects at an early age will change the planet’s future within the next ten years. 

Having a CRU in Providencia Island in the Colombian Caribbean is our goal in 2022. For this, we extended a warm invitation to David Vaughn to come down to Colombia and advise us in the construction of the unit and enrich the One Million Corals for Colombia Project, which is mainly based on the different applications of microfragmentation. This will be a great opportunity to get the local children of Providencia involved in the project.

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Andrea Caicedo González