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Planetary Coral Reef Foundation

PCRF's coral reef scientist, Orla Doherty,
monitoring coral reefs in Southeast Asia

The Coral Reef Crisis

The Planetary Coral Reef Foundation (PCRF) was founded in 1991 to address the global coral reef crisis. An estimated 25% of the world's reefs have already disappeared and an estimated two-thirds of all coral reefs are at risk today. In Southeast Asia, more than 80% of the reefs are at risk and more than 90% of the reefs in the Florida Keys have lost their living coral cover since 1975. Threatened by pollution, over-fishing, dynamite and cyanide fishing, sedimentation as well as bleaching caused by global warming, coral reefs are now endangered on a planetary scale. If immediate action is not taken, coral reefs could disappear from Earth within this century. The future of life on our planet depends on the health of our oceans and the health of our oceans depends on the health of our coral reefs.
            A healthy coral reef                        A coral that has "bleached"

Why Coral Reefs Are Important

Coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystem and the greatest expression of ocean life. Home to more than 25% of all fish species, reefs and their habitats play a vital role in the global economy, providing resources and services worth an estimated $375 billion per year including: food for an estimated 10% of the world's population, fish nursery habitats, shoreline protection from erosion, pharmaceuticals and tourism. The prospects of a world without reefs are devastating - for the global economy, for a hungry and ever growing world population, for the sustainability of the oceans and for the life of all future generations.

PCRF - Meeting the Planetary Challenge  

PCRF continues to aspire, more than 15 years since its inception, to contribute to the body of knowledge about coral reefs, to further marine conservation initiatives, to inform the curious public on its findings in the field free of charge and to educate by both hands-on experience and virtual transmission.  PCRF approaches projects and tasks from a combination of angles including science, education and conservation.  All of its programs aim to inform, inspire and provide ways for the individual to get involved and become a steward of our earth’s biosphere. (Photo right: sailing vessel Mir)

Research and Youth Leadership Program at Sea

In support of its mission, PCRF managed an on-going expedition at sea for fourteen years to map and monitor the world's coral reefs and provide an education-outreach program for students.

Website Output

PCRF’s websites include a and comprehensive world map with data from 49 science study sites, a Google Earth demonstration project, immersive 360° underwater video, as well as an educational/information hub that is centered on coral reefs, and features films, photos, and expedition logs for the public to Join the Voyage!

Studio of the Sea

Studio of the Sea is a production studio onboard the ship that produces short films and still images from the sea. Over 40 films and 250 photographs are posted online at to illustrate the beauty and the challenges of our biosphere.

Coral Reef Satellite Mission

Today, there is no comprehensive baseline map of living coral reefs, and this information is urgently needed if we are to have a chance of saving this endangered ecosystem. To accomplish this critical goal, PCRF is also pioneering a Coral Reef Satellite Mission in cooperation with scientists at College of Charleston, M.I.T., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, SeaSpace, the Stevens Institute of Technology and USC. This will be the first satellite mission dedicated to coral reef stewardship.  

Michel with whale shark in Papua New Guinea

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PCRF is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.

PCRF 2002
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