Hurricane Rapid Coral Recovery Team

  The Reef Ball Foundation Coral Team has developed rapid response teams using trained volunteers often with the assistance of  local experts to be able to provide an very fast response to hurricane damage on coral reefs.  For a period of day and for about 6 months after a hurricane, there will typicaly be a large number of coral fragments that are laying in sand (fragments on hard bottom can recover naturally and should not be touched) that will die over time and waves bury them into the sand.  By being proactive and re-attaching these imperiled coral fragments reef systems can recover faster from Hurricane events.  Often, additional complexity in the form of designed artificial reef modules can aid in providing fish habitat until the coral have a chance to recover to offer this time of complexity again.  This type of work can be especially important when the reefs destroyed by the hurricane have a high social or economic value such as reefs traditionally visited by tourists or for used by local fisheries.  (Click here if you are in Florida and find hurricane damage to a reef)


Coral Restoration

Reef Ball Attachment System

Coral Rescue

Artificial Reef 
Construction &

Red Mangrove Planting

Monitoring and
Data Collection

Volunteer Programs

Activities Near You (Reef Ball World Mapping System)

Reef Ball Foundation Home Page

Reef Ball Services Home Page

Steps in A Reef Ball Foundation Hurricane Recovery Project
  1. Initial Assessment.  Dive teams travel as rapidly as possible to the site and begin the process of photo documenting if there are  imperiled coral fragments left in the wake of the storm.  Team experts assess additional impacts of the storm that may require action such as the presence of unattached live rocks, wooden debris, etc.  (that can cause further damage in future storms) or changes in infrastucures that may threathen corals (such as a loss of sewage treatments, changes in river patterns). 

  2. Adult Coral Colony Re-attachment Phase: Traditional hydrostatic cement techniques (Movie showing how the Hydrostatic/Microsilica  attachment method works) are used to reattached adult colonies that can be rescued in situ.

    (Dislodged Brain corals in a temporary protective nursery awaiting re-attachment with hydrostatic cement)

  3. Complexity Assessment:  Loss of complexity is assessed and using Coral Reef Restoration methodology a determination is made if complexity needs to be introduced via prefabricated designed artificial reef modules.

    (Complexity can be added using custom designed prefabricated reef units such as the ones pictures above.  These units are 4 months old, all attached corals survived well)

  4.  Propagation and Replanting Phase: recovered fragments are restored to the original site or in areas that are in the most need of recovery after the storn and either planted on modules or freshly exposed rock surfaces. 

    (Temporaty Coral Propagation Stations are set up in shallow water or in shallow salt water tanks designed for the system)

    (There are many different fragmenting techniques for each type of coral, Experts are used to determine which is used for each coral type).

    (Reef Ball Foundation uses a special 30 second setting pH neutralized cement formulation that allows the fragments to only be out of the water for a very short period of time and is key to proper basing and survival of the fragments.)

    (Acropora species are very fast growing for hard corals, but they are most susceptible to being injured in the fragmentation process. Many special precautions are taken when working with these delicate corals such as use of sterile gloves, dipping in anti-bacterial solutions, and a 24 hour recovery period before planting. )

    (Special two part epoxies are used to attach propagated fragments with minimal diving time involved.  A trained diver can plant 100 fragments in a single hour)

    (Properly based corals grow out over the plugs and epoxy putty and attached directly to the designed artificial reef module)


    6.On going Monitoring Program

An on-going monitoring program is optionally put into place to document the recovery of the reefs after the hurricane. Locals are often involved in this effort.

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Need more information? Contact us:

John Walch
Coral Team Co-Leader 

Marjo Van Der Bulck
Coral Team Co-Leader

Sara Cirelli
Red Mangrove Team Co-Leader

Reef Ball Foundation, Inc., 
Volunteer Services Division

Georgia Office (Kathy Kirbo)
603 River Overlook Rd.
Woodstock, GA 30188 USA
Atlanta, GA 30188
770 752-0202

Florida Office (Todd Barber)
6916 22nd Street West
Bradenton, FL 34207
941 720-7549

Arizona Office (John Walch/Ocean Worlds)
15042 North Moon Valley Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85022



Todd Barber, Division Chair

Kathy Kirbo,
Executive Director


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Other Valuable Internal Reef Ball Links

            -Coral Reef Transplant Notes
            -Identified Hard Coral Diseases (The Coral Disease Page) offline