About the Reef Stewardship Foundation
Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to foster a diverse stewardship community that protects coral reefs through collaborative action, research, education and aquaculture initiatives.
Oceans and reefs are under numerous threats, including a lack of awareness of environmental issues threatening them, effective action strategies to address the threats, unsustainable collection and a lack of knowledge of reproductive cycles and life histories of many species. The Reef Stewardship Foundation seeks to conduct research yielding qualitative and quantitative data to fill basic knowledge gaps, provide practical knowledge regarding the captive breeding of species, encourage the global use of breeding techniques to supplant wild collection, disseminate information to pertinent stakeholders and empower an environmentally sensitive and personally engaged citizenry.
A Brief Reef Stewardship Foundation History
In 2004 the movement was begun to conceptualize the Reef Stewardship Foundation. The original concept was created by Brian Plankis, but was quickly improved through conversations with research scientists, educational researchers through the University of Houston and many concerned marine aquarium hobbyists, especially from the Marine Aquarium and Reef Society of Houston. In 2006, Project DIBS was formed to begin testing the concept and the initial findings pointed to the need for a non-profit structure. The Reef Stewardship Foundation was officially founded in 2007 to build upon the initial success of Project DIBS.
In less than two years, Project DIBS has grown to over 750 volunteers and continues to grow rapidly. Several publications, conference presentations and podcasts have been created to demonstrate the results of Project DIBS and many more are planned. Many ideas have been created from this community and the Reef Stewardship Foundation will begin to focus efforts to bring these ideas into reality. We encourage you to support the community and to become a part of our history, there is much to be written.
Why is the Reef Stewardship Foundation Needed?
The Reef Stewardship Foundation was formed to raise awareness of the need for conservation and preservation of ocean resources while focused on coral reef ecosystems. Coral reefs have been declining for decades but few people are aware of their condition outside of governmental organizations, scientists, and non-profit organization, including most members of the diving and marine ornamental communities. Without people from all areas of the world being aware of the decline of coral reefs, it is difficult to garner public support for stopping and reversing this decline.
It will take decades to slow or reverse the decline, and while it continues it is important to identify invertebrates that can be bred in captivity. Many marine invertebrate populations have suffered severe declines in the ocean and the first step in helping their populations recover is to understand their basic reproductive biology. Very little is known about marine invertebrate reproduction and obtaining funding to conduct research on them is a difficult task. By working together as a community, we can begin to investigate their reproduction and publically share the knowledge gained from our investigations.
The decline of our oceans has also led to an educational movement, known as ocean literacy, to educate everyone on their impact on the ocean and the oceanís impact on them. The movement to include ocean literacy in United States classrooms began to build momentum in early 2000. In June 2006, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation held a two-day Conference on Ocean Literacy in Washington, D.C. that focused on the importance of ocean literacy and the difficulties faced into getting ocean literacy curriculum into classrooms across the country. The essential principles of ocean literacy, combined with the more established environmental literacy principles, are the beginning building blocks of all curriculua that the Reef Stewardship Foundation is currently developing. If students around the world do not understand the importance of the oceans and what they can do to help save them, reversing their decline will be an even more difficult task.