Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire

Hi, Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire! Welcome to our Reef Community here on Reefbites.

The Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire protects and restores coral reefs in Bonaire by: 1) developing new and innovative ways to restore reefs that are supported by research collaborations and shared worldwide 2) training, engaging, and inspiring the community locally and internationally through volunteering, educational events, and outreach 3) demonstrating that through community efforts there is still hope for coral reefs.

Fig. 1 Gamete collection. Resource: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire.
Fig. 2 Outplanting Acropora cervicornis. Resource: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire.
Fig. 3 Monitoring 1 year old Acropora cervicornis. Resource: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire.

What services do you provide the community?

We assist natural recovery of degraded reef areas in Bonaire, using active coral restoration as a strategy to enhance the population of coral species. We do this working together with the community and with local dive shops who act as education center for visitors and residents who want to learn more about coral reefs and reef restoration. Moreover, we work with local youth groups training them to become Reef Renewal volunteers so they can help preserve the future of their reef.

Video 1 – The journey of our staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) begins in the nursery, where these coral fragments stay and grow for 6 to 8 months. Once the corals are ready for outplanting, we harvest, collect, and transport them to a predetermined restoration site. We pay special attention to their stability as we place them consciously and carefully into their new intended environment, the shallow water reef. Resource: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire YouTube page.

What research projects/conservation efforts/citizen science do you have going on at the moment?

We continuously work with partner research scientists and institutes to answer questions that will continue to advance our restoration methods. In addition, we actively monitor the performance of or corals in our nurseries and after outplanting. By using photomosaics we can monitor the development of our restoration sites over time. With the help of our trained volunteers, we established a coral spawning monitoring program, which provides us with critical information to support our larval propagation project. We also work together with Project Baseline and we regularly update its database by photographing outplanted corals over time to show the change happening at our restoration sites.

Video 2 – Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire is currently growing three species of boulder corals in its nurseries. These coral species are among the most common reef-builders that make up Bonaire’s reefs – lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis), mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata), and great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa). In this video, Reef Renewal staff is fragmenting boulder corals with the goal of scaling-up the production to thousands of fragments per year. These fragments will be outplanted back onto the reefs at new and existing restoration sites around Bonaire as a part of the ongoing coral restoration effort. Resource: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire YouTube page.

Do you have volunteer opportunities?

Happy, hard-working volunteers are the reason why RRFB thrives and can make an impact. Our partner dive shops trains divers in our PADI Reef Renewal Diver Distinctive Speciality course, after which they can assist us in the coral nurseries, help with maintenance activities and outplant corals to restoration sites around the island. Our volunteers include participants from local diving communities to annual visitors (

Do you have internships/fellowships opportunities?

We offer an internship designed to introduce students and recent graduate students to the non-profit sector of marine conservation with a focus on the restoration of tropical coral reef ecosystems. The internship lasts 2.5 to 3 months and is a full-time volunteer position offering a vast amount of experience through participation in our community involvement, daily operations and field work – which includes maintaining our coral nurseries and out planting corals onto the reefs (

Do you have facilities for scientists to stay?

As we are only a small Foundation, we do not have facilities for scientists to stay. However, we assist with finding housing when needed.

Are there any collaborations/partnerships you would like to highlight?

In 2018, we entered a partnership with SECORE International to share expertise and bring the first larval propagation project to Bonaire. Using tools and protocols developed by SECORE, the method offers us the potential to scale-up the number of coral outplants, to work with numerous coral species and morphologies, and to increase the genetic diversity of corals on the reef. Additionally, we work together and share our results with STINAPA Bonaire, a non-profit foundation commissioned by the island government to manage the protected areas of Bonaire. We are also part of the Coral Restoration Consortium, a community of practice comprised of scientists, managers, coral restoration practitioners, and educators dedicated to enabling coral reef ecosystems to survive the 21st century and beyond.


Facebook handle: @ReefRenewalBonaire

Instagram handle: @ReefRenewalBonaire


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