- Apr 21, 2021
These are just a couple of highlights of our comprehensive work on improving coastal health, view the rest in our 2021 Year in Review.
We understand the importance of protecting these incredible ecosystems and have implemented several different ways of doing so. From opening our first on-land coral reef laboratory in 2019 to establishing our fifth underwater coral nursery in 2021, our goal is to continuously work to improve coral reefs.
Our coastal health team works to restore the connectivity between marine-coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, seagrasses, mangroves and dunes that protect us and are the first line of defense against the onslaught of storms and hurricanes like the ones we have had in the Yucatan peninsula. We continue to investigate how to rescue the structures that remain on the reefs and seek innovative and bold solutions to increase local biodiversity on the reefs where we work.
Collaboration with Old Dominion University
With the objective of expanding research on coral thermotolerance across our reef restoration operations in the Caribbean, we were excited to collaborate with Old Dominion University. Dr. Dan Barshis and Dr. Nicolas Evensen, experts in the field, designed and built a portable lab/aquarium system to conduct heat stress studies named Coral Bleaching Automated Stress System (CBASS). Our science team learned how to assemble and operate the system and different software with Dr. Barshis and Dr. Evensen at one of our complexes in Mexico. Together we conducted an experiment to assess the thermal stress threshold of four of the main coral species in the region. After the knowledge exchange, the promising results of the experiments and the many emergent benefits that a collaboration like this implies (for instance, overcoming barriers of reef restoration such as scalability), the science team is ready to continue expanding the experiments to more species and destinations.
Quote from Dan Barshis, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University
“The main thing the private industry brings to the table is scaling up and testing applied research approaches. Individual research groups can test out specific technologies and come up with potential applications, but the industry is really the stakeholder who can implement/test these approaches at a relevant scale. Also, the restoration practitioners are the ones who will be implementing these methods and technologies, so it is critical to have their involvement and feedback to help shape the future direction of the scientific research.”
Research in the Mediterranean
Our coastal health work has primarily been focused in the Caribbean for the past few years. Due to the nature of our resort’s locations, it made it the easiest location to begin performing our work to improve the health of the ecosystems surrounding our properties. As we continue to move forward with our work, we look to the Mediterranean for our second wave of projects.
The Mediterranean is one of those unique places that has been recognized as a biodiversity hotspot (an area with unique flora and fauna). The Mediterranean has between 15,000 to 25,000 plant species, 60% unique to the region. The Mediterranean is also our home and it needs protection. With our headquarters in the Balearic Islands in the island of Mallorca, we recognize the importance of protecting this precious ecosystem.
Wave of Change Discovery
This year we opened a new chapter in our work to protect nature in our destinations by introducing Wave of Change Discovery. This program brings all of our stakeholders, including guests, partners, employees and local communities, to these amazing marine ecosystems: from the luscious Posidonia seagrass in the Mediterranean to the charismatic coral reefs and mangroves forests in the Caribbean. Because we believe that connecting with nature is one of the best ways to protect it.
We invite you to learn more about our accomplishments on improving coastal health in 2021 by accessing our Year in Review.