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$1 Million Available for Coral Restoration Projects in Honor of Coral Researcher Dr. Ruth D. Gates

December 05, 2023

As part of our efforts to restore resilient coral ecosystems, NOAA is announcing the availability of funding for coral restoration in 2024.

Scientists with flash lights overseeing experimental coral spawning  in lab tanks under red light. University of Hawaii’s Coral Research Lab staff watching the experimental corals in lab tanks spawning under red lights. Credit: University of Hawaii.

NOAA is announcing the availability of approximately $1 million in Ruth D. Gates Coral Restoration Innovation Grant funding in 2024. These grants are part of our efforts to restore resilient coral ecosystems. They will support objectives in the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s Strategic Plan and NOAA’s Action Plan on Coral Interventions.

We are seeking project proposals from non-federal partners to:

  • Advance science-based intervention techniques to help corals respond to threats, such as ocean warming or coral disease
  • Improve coral restoration practices, survival of post larval settlers, and/or growth/survival of mid-sized corals
A diver swims at NOAA's new coral nursery loaded with detached corals
A coral nursery loaded with detached corals in Hawai’i off the coast of O’ahu. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

As shallow water, nearshore communities, coral reef ecosystems are ecologically linked to adjacent watersheds and are highly vulnerable to human activity. Coral reefs are rapidly declining in health due to local stressors, such as land-based sources of pollution and destructive fishing practices. They are also harmed by global stressors such as frequent and severe bleaching and ocean acidification due to climate change

Coral restoration efforts have been successful at a local level. However, NOAA recognizes that environmental change is outpacing corals’ natural ability to adapt. Innovative interventions are needed to improve the long-term effectiveness of coral restoration activities at a larger scale.

The deadline for proposals is February 14, 2024. Award amounts will range from $100,000 to $1 million over a 1- to 3-year project period.

Dr. Ruth Gates, in front of a computer, explains the benefits of using an advanced microscope to image corals.
Dr. Ruth Gates explains the benefits of using an advanced microscope to image corals. Credit: NOAA.

This competition is a tribute to the work and life of Dr. Ruth Gates, former Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and renowned coral researcher. It aims to build on her efforts to address the decline in coral reefs through innovative science and research. See a list of NOAA funded projects since this competition began in 2020.

Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on December 07, 2023