Revitalizing coral reef infrastructure in Indonesia

Marine biologists, students, local community members, and tourists are planting 30,000 corals to fortify reefs and restore critical coastal ecosystems.

Image © Blue Corner Marine Research

Image © Blue Corner Marine Research

Key facts

  • Only One members fund the restoration of 30,000 corals along the shores of Nusa Penida, Indonesia.

  • The project rehabilitates degraded reef environments physically and biologically, protects wildlife in vibrant coral ecosystems, and bolsters community livelihoods.

  • The coral restoration site is the largest in the Nusa Penida marine protected area (MPA), which lies within the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world, the Coral Triangle.

  • Our coral planting partner Blue Corner Marine Research works in coordination with the local community to monitor revitalized reefs and sustain their corresponding marine habitats, facilitating workshops, internships, and educational courses covering everything from coral health analysis to marine megafauna conservation.

How the project works


Blue Corner Marine Research maps out once-thriving reefs, conducting surveys and identifying priority areas for restoration and species of coral to plant based on the depth and intensity of ocean currents in each location.

Blue Corner Marine Research


Together with expert ecologists, international visitors, and local volunteers, Blue Corner Marine Research assembles modular metal scaffolding as the building blocks of new coral habitat. They secure these structures in unstable rubble to restabilize the reef surface, distributing them to maximize the movement of marine organisms between the platforms.

Blue Corner Marine Research


Meanwhile, Blue Corner Marine Research maintains nurseries in quieter waters to grow coral fragments in optimal conditions before transplanting them to the restoration sites. The fragments are procured from nearby reefs with similar environmental conditions and target ecologies for the recovered areas.

Blue Corner Marine Research


Blue Corner Marine Research monitors the reef restoration sites, observing lasting increases in coral coverage, fish populations and biodiversity, and settlement of “substrates” (the bases on which organisms live) such as sponges.

Blue Corner Marine Research


Local community members and tourists alike contribute to all aspects of the coral restoration project, learning sustainable conservation techniques and expanding the reef rehabilitation area by over 500 square meters every month.

Blue Corner Marine Research

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 “Revitalizing coral reef infrastructure in Indonesia” project is having a positive effect.

Biodiversity and ecosystems

Situated in the exceptionally biodiverse Coral Triangle, the Indonesian island of Nusa Penida boasts some of the richest coral ecosystems on the planet. The confluence of warm currents from the Pacific Ocean flowing into the Indian Ocean provides the Lombok Strait, where Nusa Penida is located, with a uniquely rich influx of phytoplankton, coral larvae, and other marine species. More than 580 coral species call this place home. Largest among the over 3,000 resident fish species 🐠 in this biodiversity hotspot is the whale shark, the biggest “fish” in the world, averaging around 30 feet in length, and sometimes spanning more than 60! These magnificent creatures are known to pass through the Nusa Penida MPA during their annual westward migration traversing the Pacific Ocean.

Our partner Blue Corner Marine Research’s project is crucial given its position at the center of a global biodiversity nexus that is under threat. Swaths of reef have been destroyed due to industrial practices like boating anchors and fishing nets being dragged along the ocean floor, reducing coral skeletons to rubble, in addition to deliberate coral clearing in service of unsustainable tourism activities such as sea walking and other aquatic sports.

By replenishing previously abundant coral communities on top of this precarious terrain, this project works not only to increase biodiversity within the restoration area and surrounding ecosystems, but also to restabilize the seafloor, providing essential protection from coastal erosion. The support of Only One members plays a vital role in accelerating the expansion of these critical reef rehabilitation efforts.

Blue Corner Marine Research

Species protection

Several megafauna native to the Nusa Penida coast are at risk, from the vulnerable reef manta ray to a suite of sea turtles, including the endangered green turtle and olive ridley sea turtle, and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle. By foraging on reefs, feeding predominantly on algae and sponges, sea turtles act as coastal gardeners, supporting coral growth by keeping competing organisms in check — so Blue Corner Marine Research’s work to restore these reef environments is key to strengthening the livelihoods of coral and sea turtle species alike.

Corals aren’t the only creatures responsible for stabilizing the reef, and Blue Corner Marine Research takes a holistic approach to promoting species diversity. Newly transplanted corals attract secondary settlers like sea sponges and jellyfish-like hydroids, with each fresh inhabitant further reinforcing the loose surface. These newcomers bring in butterflyfish and parrotfish (to name just a couple of apartment-hunting reef dwellers!), who in turn usher in anemones, crustaceans, and myriad other organisms that together form a flourishing reef ecosystem.

Blue Corner Marine Research

Community development

The coral restoration site funded by Only One members operates in the Nusa Penida MPA, covering around 20,000 hectares and supporting the livelihoods of island residents who work in and rely on industries, like local fisheries and tourism, that need a healthy reef ecosystem.

This multifaceted project equips residents and tour operators with skills and knowledge to sustainably interact with and protect the reef. Blue Corner Marine Research hosts monthly coral restoration, diving certification, and marine conservation workshops, providing local students, tour guides, and community members with opportunities to contribute to the ongoing monitoring, management, and development of maturing reefs.

As well as employing local divemasters, course instructors, and a full-time boating crew, our partner offers two six-month restoration internships every year and additional semesterly research internships in coordination with Indonesian universities. These internship programs prioritize women and local community members when considering applications.

Blue Corner Marine Research’s workshops geared toward tourists and tour operators like snorkel guides provide sustainable activities and income for local businesses — more than 40 diving companies bring visitors to see the restored reefs! Our partner’s work has motivated multiple organizations to pursue parallel projects in nearby waters, with rehabilitated coral reefs growing all over the Balinese shore.      

Blue Corner Marine Research

Project leaders

Blue Corner Marine Research’s founder and director is Andrew Taylor, a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) who has worked in coral conservation for almost two decades, coordinating marine habitat restoration and training international reef health monitoring teams in Indonesia, Thailand, Ecuador, and Canada.

Local to the area, Egi Pamungkas is the lead marine biologist and workshop instructor for this project, with experience in reef restoration and monitoring and in training local and international groups in marine conservation techniques.

The Blue Corner Marine Research team has trained leaders at their Nusa Penida site who have subsequently developed coral restoration projects in Bali, Lombok, Sulawesi, Raja Ampat, the Maldives, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Egi Pamungkas and Andrew Taylor / Blue Corner Marine Research

Coral species

Based on surveys conducted of healthy neighboring reefs, this project establishes varied communities of marine life by planting a combination of corals sourced from these flourishing “parent” colonies, in addition to fresh coral fragments discovered in situ, dispersed across the reef floor.

The coral species being planted in Nusa Penida are:

  • Primarily Acropora thanks to their ability to act as “pioneer” species, rapidly growing and giving initial stability to the rubble, and as a safe harbor within their branches for budding coral larvae to land on and grow.

  • Galaxea, Euphyllia, and Goniopora genera, which display an astonishing multitude of differently sized tentacles, some adorned with leafy filaments, others donning knobbed ends that display neon-like glows.

  • Other transplanted stony corals, ranging from the lettuce-shaped Merulina to the tree-resembling Hydnophora dappled with brown-green polyps that branch out in arched horns.

  • Further genera transplanted include the softer The softer Heliopora, along with Echinophyllia, Porites, and the “cauliflower coral,” Pocillopora, which owes its nickname to its distinctive clustered, blooming texture.

Each one of these species offers a vital habitat for reef organisms to feed and settle, promoting a diversity of stabilizing structures and ecologies that thrive at a variety of depths and current conditions.

Egi Pamungkas planting Echinophyllia and Acropora / Blue Corner Marine Research

Sustainable Development Goals

By supporting the "Revitalizing coral reef infrastructure in Indonesia" project, Only One members’ funds go toward these 4 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Project reporting

Blue Corner Marine Research will send Only One a detailed and timely services report every quarter on how this project is progressing. Their team will include regular photo and video updates from dives and activities related to the coral restoration efforts.

You can explore all our project implementation reports in our public Impact Dashboard.

More about our coral restoration partner

Our coral planting partner Blue Corner Marine Research works in coordination with the local community on Nusa Penida to monitor revitalized reefs, sustain their corresponding marine habitats, and facilitate workshops, internships, and educational courses covering everything from coral health analysis to marine megafauna conservation. Utilizing cutting-edge 3D mapping technology, they continually evaluate ecosystem restoration progress, ready to implement any adjustments necessary to maximize habitat longevity and successful coral growth.

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