Coral Nurseries: Growing Coral in a Not Only Biological Sea
- Rivera Sotelo, Aida Sofia
- Advisor(s): De la Cadena, Marisol
Coral coverage reduction of up to 90% became a barometer of planetary health in the last three decades. As a result, coral scientists anticipate coral extinction with catastrophic effects on life in the oceans and propose direct interventions to rehabilitate ecological functions and extend corals’ lives. Some scholars have offered a critical approach to coral restoration’s naturalization of corporate forms of responsibility (Moore 2018) and controversies among coral scientists about what coral restoration can achieve (Braverman 2018). My dissertation draws upon twenty months of immersive study as a volunteer for the Center of Research, Education, and Recreation (CEINER) in the Rosario archipelago (part of the Corals of Rosario and San Bernardo Nature Reserve). CEINER simultaneously works on coral restoration and the assisted reproduction of endangered fish species. In addition, I volunteered for other coral restoration and reef checks in Isla Fuerte, Santa Marta, Taganga, and San Andrés. I also attended and presented posters and papers at international conferences on conservation biology, coral science, and ecological restoration. My work with scientists and other residents and visitors in the Rosario archipelago has pushed my analysis beyond extinction’s recognition to consider the migration of coral and fish further and deeper in the ocean. Using the word “migrations,” I intend to reframe the terms of destruction from planetary accounts to elusive ecologies—for both scientists and artisanal fishers. I explore different and co-incidental sea compositions, undecidable temporal horizons in coral reproductive urgencies, and more ways through which various islanders grow coral and fish in this sea. My research conceptually integrates and advances discussions surrounding extinction, managerial juridical frameworks, and environmental and animal studies. Throughout my dissertation, I build a vocabulary to think and imagine affective sea ecologies and unlikely, partial, and strategic collaborations among coral restoration scientists and other islanders.