What We Do

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Expedition Akumal is the name of our community initiative in Akumal, set up in 2014 by the Hotel Akumal Caribe, to begin coral reef restoration research and involve the diving community through education and outreach. We installed the first coral nurseries of Akumal in 2015, using the endangered species of coral Acropora cervicornis (Staghorn) to populate in-situ line nurseries. We have transplanted over 500 corals onto Akumal’s reefs and at any one time have hundreds of coral fragments growing in our nurseries. In 2016 we shifted the research focus towards emerging techniques designed to increased genetic diversity and resilience into the restored population. We made the first registered observation of coral spawning in Akumal in 2017 and over the past 2 years we have collected the gametes during mass spawning events, fertilised them in the lab, and created thousands of juvenile corals. Only a few will survive to adulthood, but we continue to move with and our research contributes to the rapidly developing science of coral reef restoration. To find out more about coral spawning our other activities you can read the blog here:

Expedition Akumal depends upon donations and in-kind support. By staying at the Hotel Akumal Caribe and diving with Akumal Dive Center, you are supporting the maintenance of coral nurseries. If you wish to make a direct donation to our non-profit organisation the link to our US partner charity can be found here and you can also contact us at [email protected] to find out about other ways to donate.

News From Our Lead Biologist

Expedition Akumal lead biologist, Jenny Mallon, set up a lab on site with the help of Coral Conservation Society to work on collecting coral spawn with her team and collecting large datasets on biogeochemical parametres of coral reefs and develop novel techniques for measuring reef metabolism. Jenny is using the work in Akumal in her PhD thesis.

My ambition is to use scientific research to address the climate change crisis for coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems. ~Jenny Mallon

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Announcements

Announcing the results of our hard work down in Akumal this summer: watch the spawning coral babies (shown in the video below under a UV light) at Dr Anastazia Banaszak’s lab C O R A L I U M: La Vida de un Coral, where they continue to be cared for until they are out-planted.

Acropora palmata (Elkhorn coral) is an essential component of the reef structure. The spawn we collected came from large adult colonies (1 – 3m in height and width), simply fascinating that they started out as these tiny primary polyps, almost invisible to the naked eye!

We’re grateful and proud to be part of this team, a Caribbean-wide consortium of experts, dedicated to making a difference to the future of our coral reefs and building our knowledge of the key phases of their life cycle.