Coral Crisis

Due to human impact, 90% of the world’s surviving coral reefs are at risk of destruction. This short documentary video, produced by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), explores the importance of coral in our ecosystem and the role reefs play in providing a home, food and protection for 25% of marine species. Coral Reefs are the most diverse aquatic ecosystems on the planet but suffer from a multitude of threats including global climate change, alterations to reef communities and a range of newly emerged diseases.

The University of Derby’s Aquatic Research Facility assisted in the production of this video, with Mike Sweet advising the CELT on the facts about coral reefs. The research facility can offer students a unique opportunity to participate in high level research and work with some of the world leaders in the field of aquarium and zoo research. The video reinforces the research we do; exploring various aspects of coral biology, understanding how disease outbreaks impacts reefs, and whether tourist islands in the Maldives can act as refuge for various marine organisms. We also have projects working on turtles and their entanglement in lost or abandoned fishing gear known as ghost nets and together with colleagues at the Horniman Museum and Gardens we were the first to spawn corals in captivity in a controlled manner. As well as working on understanding the role tiny bacteria play in keeping the corals healthy and even seeing if we can develop a soup of ‘good’ bacteria for the corals – similar in a way to your morning Yakault!

To find out more about the University of Derby’s Aquatic Research Facility please visit:

This video provides an opportunity to students, across a range of programmes, to see the “real world” application of research and relate it to concepts and theories learnt in class. It uniquely demonstrates how research is supporting the sustainability of coral reefs and how restoration projects are actively protecting and restoring their fragile ecosystem through the use of coral nurseries and re-transplanting corals into reef restoration sites. To gain this exclusive footage, the University worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao, who provided video of their coral nurseries to be included in the film. We can however, all play a part in reducing the threats caused by human impact, by supporting sustainable fishing methods, reducing our usage of plastic and supporting restoration foundations, to prevent this crisis under the waves.

To find out more information about the Coral Restoration Foundation please visit:

Author: Charlotte Ellis (Learning Technology Media Adviser)