The Great Barrier Reef Legacy, through its flagship initiative, the Forever Reef Project, has made a significant milestone in coral conservation with the launch of the world’s inaugural living coral biobank facility at Cairns Aquarium, underscoring the crucial imperative of safeguarding and establishing a repository for coral species.
To raise awareness about the pioneering endeavors taking place within this biobank, creative agency M&C Saatchi Group has launched a new brand and campaign. The initiative aims to mobilize both private and philanthropic contributions to support the project’s cause.
The biobank is currently preserving vast coral biodiversity through its collection of living coral specimens, creating a repository of live fragments, tissues samples and genetic material to aid in reef research and restoration efforts worldwide.
With 400 species of coral in the Great Barrier Reef, the Forever Reef Project is aiming to collect all species as soon as possible, and said that it currently houses over 50% within the purpose-built Cairns Aquarium facility.
Charlie Veron, formerly chief scientist for the Australian Institute of Marine Science and a pioneering coral scientists, advises the Living Coral Biobank.
He told The Sydney Morning Herald: “We’re not going to be able to save the Great Barrier Reef … there’s not a chance in heaven. What we can do is have corals that provide habitat.”
According to the initiative, the ultimate goal is to collect all 800 species of coral found in the world in order to properly understand and preserve all species, and complete the most precious collection on Earth. To do that, it needs additional funding.
“We’ve had four mass coral bleaching events in the last six years on the Great Barrier Reef, and over 50% of corals gone in the last few decades,” said Dr. Dean Miller, managing director of Great Barrier Reef Legacy and project director.
“The most vulnerable corals and coral reefs are in danger, and we don’t have a moment to lose to protect and preserve this precious collection.”
“The Forever Reef Project aims to preserve the genetic biodiversity of hard coral species and catalogue, collect and store living fragments, tissue and genetic samples in a ‘coral ark’ to maintain the living biodiversity of corals before it’s too late.”
Sharon Edmonston, group creative director at M&C Saatchi Group, added: “Working with Great Barrier Reef Legacy on a project that could preserve our planet’s coral biodiversity has been an incredibly meaningful experience for everyone involved. This project isn’t a shot in the dark, success is guaranteed, the answer is right in front of us, we just need people to rally together and act.”