by Sofia Peano, 7th Grade
International School of Sosua, Dominican Republic
Coral reefs are one of the wonders of our world. Unbeknownst to many, corals are alive; they are part of the animal kingdom and are found in most parts of the ocean. Corals provide marine life with food and shelter. Did you know that 25% of marine life lives in coral reefs? Reef fish such as Parrot Fish and Hogfish eat the algae and snails that are harmful to the coral. Sadly, even though these fish are important to the ecosystem, they’re rapidly disappearing. This is mostly due to human impacts such as pollution and overfishing. Sadly, this ecosystem worldwide, and right here in the Sosua Bay in the Dominican Republic, is in rapid decline. play a critical role in the overall health of our oceans. Luckily, Fundacion Ecologica Magua is an organization near the Charamicos side of Sosua Bay trying to restore corals, along with other ecological initiatives.
This academic year, the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes at the International School of Sosua in the Dominican Republic visited the Fundacion Ecologica Magua to learn more about coral reefs and corals in general; how they are essential, what's happening to them, and how we can help. During our visits this year we created coral domes; to do so, the workers of the foundation collected pieces of live coral from the ocean floor. We place these structures at the bottom of the ocean adding to the existing coral gardens. The nets are then left alone and with the passing of time, the corals start to grow and spread. This allows reef fish to make a home inside them and use the nets to hide from predators.
This work is really important because it helps restore the coral that has tragically died because of human impacts. By making coral gardens and planting new coral, we can help coral regenerate the Sosua Bay and provide habitat for disappearing reef fish. This is a continuous job as we will return to visit our coral gardens and see the growth of the corals we planted and all the fish might have found a home in them. Our goal is to also share what we learned with our fellow students to increase care and awareness for our oceans.