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Jenifer Suárez examines samples for the Galápagos coral restoration project

Jenifer Suárez: A Beacon Amid Global Coral Challenges

Marine ecosystems are at risk due to the escalating global coral bleaching crisis and erosion. Climate change, pollution and overfishing have all contributed to this. Coral reefs are often referred to as “the rainforests of the ocean” and are crucial for marine biodiversity. Coral reefs are vital to marine biodiversity and the beauty of the oceans. Coral reefs are second only in terms of diversity to tropical rainforests.

In the midst of this global concern, The Galapagos Archipelago is emerging as a symbol both of marine fragility and resilience. About 100 women work at the Galapagos National Park Directorate. Jenifer Suarez is a marine biologist who is dedicated to the conservation of the coral reefs on the islands.

Jenifer has always been drawn to the ocean. A scholarship accelerated her academic career, leading to a degree in biology and marine research with the Charles Darwin Foundation. In 2014, she shifted her focus to the Galapagos Directorate where she spearheaded a coral restoration project in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Galapagos Conservancy supports her work on the ground and in the ocean.

Successful coral development in the underwater nursery of the pilot restoration project
©Galápagos National Park Directorate

Jenifer is a hands-on person who has a direct response to the global problem of coral degradation. She collects coral health data during her dives to help local conservation efforts as well as global understanding. She established several underwater nurseries on Santa Cruz Island with support from Galapagos Conservancy. These nurseries are crucial in aiding the growth of corals by providing small corals to be outplanted on weakened corals reefs and in new areas. They have made significant strides towards reviving several areas in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Jenifer, who focuses on awareness and education in her interactions with local communities, engages many local youths to help propagate corals and plant them. She hopes that her educational outreach will instill a duty-like attitude among the residents and ignite parallel global conservation efforts.

Jenifer’s dedication and community collaboration are helping to secure the future for Galapagos reefs. It also provides an inspiring template for other corals facing similar challenges.