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Rebuilding the reef in French Polynesia

Island innovators are restoring 10,000 “super corals” to the reef to save wildlife habitat and spread global awareness.

Image © Killian Domingo

Image © Killian Domingo

Key facts

Only One members are funding the planting of 10,000 corals in the crystal waters of Mo'orea, a volcanic island in the Pacific 11 miles northwest of Tahiti

The project is rebuilding the reef with corals more able to withstand climate change, protecting ocean wildlife, and benefiting local people.

Mo'orea is surrounded by 13 marine protected areas. Marine reserves like these are vital for securing a positive future for the ocean.

Our coral planting partner Coral Gardeners is the brainchild of Titouan Bernicot, an ocean kid who loved his island’s magnificent reef ecosystem and dreamed big!

How the project works

1

Coral Gardeners identifies and collects “super coral” fragments in the wild.

Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

2

The coral fragments are cleaned and seeded in nurseries, where they increase in size and multiply over time.

Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

3

Every day, the reef restoration team at Coral Gardeners monitors the corals’ growth and health.

Killian Domingo / Coral Gardeners

4

Once the corals are mature enough, Coral Gardeners takes them to a reef and plants them, helping bring life back to the ocean.

Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

Become a member of Only One today to fund Coral Gardeners’ project and take direct action to save the planet — planting your own ocean forests and coral reefs, and removing plastic and carbon pollution.

Project impact

All projects on Only One help save the ocean and fix the climate, and 100% of our members’ funds go to impact. Keep reading to discover how our “Rebuilding the reef in French Polynesia” project is having a positive effect.

Biodiversity and ecosystems

Located in the Pacific, Mo'orea is one of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. The tropical island is protected by coral reefs home to hundreds of species, from clams, crabs, lobsters, sponges, and fish, to sharks, rays, turtles, and dolphins. The song of humpback whales can be heard seasonally. Mo'orea is surrounded by 13 marine protected areas, all of which are vital for securing a positive future for the ocean — the project’s transplantation area is close to a marine sanctuary. The corals planted on behalf of Only One members will bring more biodiversity to Mo'orea’s lagoon, benefiting nature and local communities.

Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

Wildlife protection

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse habitats on the planet, supporting 25% of all ocean creatures! When reefs bleach or die due to pressures like heat waves and ocean acidification, marine species lose their home. Coral Gardeners are planting stress-resistant corals, giving Mo'orea’s reefs the best possible chance of survival and meaning ocean wildlife is more likely to thrive long term. The project’s transplantation area protects an important habitat.

Killian Domingo / Coral Gardeners

Community development

Coral Gardeners hires local people in Mo'orea like former fisherfolk and surfers, giving them a more consistent source of income. They have 23+ permanent employees and interns.

Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

Project leaders

Evelyne Chavent is Head of Reef Restoration & Science at Coral Gardeners. A marine biologist with over 10 years of reef restoration experience, mostly in the Maldives, Evelyne has led Coral Gardeners’ coral growth and planting efforts since September 2020.

Evelyne Chavent, Head of Reef Restoration & Science · Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

Coral species

The coral species being planted in Mo'orea, chosen for their resilience and high survival rates, are Acropora cerealis, cytherea, divaricata, globiceps, horrida, hyacinthus, lutkeni, nasuta, pulchra, retusa, robusta, and striata, Cyphastrea sp, Dipsastraea sp, Gardineriseris planulata, Leptastrea pruinosa and transversa, Leptoseris sp, Montipora aequituberculata, efflorescens, grisea, setosa, and verrucosa, Napopora irregularis, Pavona cactus, chiriquiensis, maldivensis, and varians, Phymastrea curta, Pocillopora damicornis, eydouxi, and verrucosa, Porites rus, and Psammocora profundacella and stellata.

Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

Sustainable Development Goals

Only One members’ funds go toward projects corresponding to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs our “Rebuilding the reef in French Polynesia” project supports are:

Project reporting

Coral Gardeners will send Only One a quarterly report on how the coral planting project is progressing, including an analysis of survival rates three months in. As of June 2022, a total of 7,940 corals from Coral Gardeners’ Tiaia nursery have been trimmed and officially transplanted to the reef. Their growth and survival rates will follow in the coming months, so watch this space!

Tiaia nursery · Ryan Borne / Coral Gardeners

More about our coral planting partner

Coral Gardeners was born in 2017 on the island of Mo'orea in French Polynesia, when a small group of island kids who were witnessing the rapid degradation of the coral reef around them decided to take action. From humble beginnings, Coral Gardeners has grown into an international collective of advocates, scientists, engineers, and creators determined to build a global movement to save the reef. Their team grows and plants “super corals” using the latest techniques, pushing the boundaries of technology in ocean conservation, and they scale their impact globally so everyone can join their mission.

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