EDIT (8/3/19): Due to a stroke of luck, we have found a sponsor! They are willing to pay for the entire cost of research, but not my salary. Any and all contributions that come after this date will be used for my salary. I will contact everyone who has contributed, and offer to return their contribution as I have previously promised that the funds will be used for research. Thank you all for contributing and following!
NOTE: All funds raised will be used purely for research purposes. Because of the climatic nature of the event, we need to secure at least MYR 10,000 (USD 2,447) by the beginning of March for 1 year worth of research. I am also looking for grants through corporations, so if we have achieved the all funds necessary through corporation funding by this year, I will close the page and use the money we have collected for the publication of 2 papers. All of the contributors will receive a shoutout in the acknowledgements section of the paper. :)
Hi, my name is Febrianne Sukiato. Here is my LinkedIn page, and this is my blog (Damselfish in Distress). I’m in the process of registering my Master’s degree in University of Malaya, to conduct the research of my dreams: an innovative, cost-effective method to prevent coral bleaching during times of times of high heat stress. This project was given to me by Mr. Affendi Yang Amri, who I will be adopting as my future supervisor. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong time to apply for my Master’s degree. The research grant had to be slashed as public universities in Malaysia are underfunded this year due to financial issues in the country.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend over the years. Corals are dying en masse! Due to climate change and elevated seawater temperatures, many species of corals have been experiencing what is called as ‘coral bleaching’. This occurs when corals get stressed by environmental factors like high temperatures and have to get rid of the algae that lives in the coral. These algae, called zooxanthellae, normally produce food for the coral animal by photosynthesis. Vibrant corals can soon become bone white and generally die soon after because of starvation.
Oh no! How bad is it?
Worldwide bleaching events have become more frequent since the 20th century due to climate change and warming of the oceans arising from human activities. What we aim to study is a method proposed by coral scientists that could help corals cope with the higher seawater temperatures that are predicted to occur in 2019. This project was proposed to begin early this year (February 2019) because a special climatic event called El Nino is predicted to occur soon in the region. El Nino will cause unusually elevated seawater temperatures, causing heat stress to many coral regions world-wide. A typical result of El Nino is widespread mass coral bleaching and death which will in the future impact global fisheries. Coral reefs act as nurseries to many economically valuable fish species. Billions of people and communities worldwide depend on coral reefs for seafood as sustenance and to earn their living through tourism – if coral reefs disappear, this precious resource disappears for them as well. Most assuredly, the price of seafood on your dinner table will rise too, and any snorkeling and diving vacations will be rather drab.
What can we do about it?
The predicted El Nino event of 2019 not only presents us a chance to study the effects of future elevated seawater temperature stress on corals, but also a unique opportunity for us to test out this new method to mitigate bleaching in corals. Tank studies using the method have found that it was able to significantly reduce bleaching in corals, but the method has not yet been tried in-situ, where it must be applied in order to prove that it works and subsequently to be of use by coral conservationists around the world.
The preservation of coral reefs is in the best interest of everyone, and I hope from reading this you are convinced of this fact. We will face greater challenges from global climate change especially seawater warming but the results from this project could really help us plan to buffer the detrimental effects to corals. Any contribution is greatly appreciated, and will really help. Even sharing this campaign to your friends or family or anyone who cares will really help to spread awareness about the project and about coral reefs. Everyone who donates and shares will receive a huge THANK YOU!
How will the money be used?
We need MYR 26,725 (USD 6,531.72), which is no little sum. At the moment we have MYR 15,000 (USD 3652.35) remaining from the grant so we are trying to raise the balance amount of money required for the project. Here is a short breakdown of where it will be spent.
- MYR 20,000 (USD 4,869.80) for the field study of 12 months. This will pay for the tools, equipment and things required for setting up the experiment, SCUBA dive costs, transport, and a place to stay at the study site of Pulau Tenggol.
- MYR 5,000 (USD 1,217.45) for the tank study. This will pay for the setting up of the tanks, electricity needed to run the heating experiments, as well as transporting ourselves and the coral plus accommodation at the research station for 3 months.
- MYR 1,725 (USD 421.60) as administrator fee to the website (6.9%).
The funds will be received to my Paypal account which will then get transferred to an account in University of Malaya. Any great updates will be posted on this page. Thank you so much for reading all of this, and I want to let you know that every dollar contributed and every share is appreciated.