Bold & Bright: Meet the Women Leading Conservation Efforts for Coral Reefs

March 4th, 2024
Reading time: 5 minutes

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Coral reefs, often called the rainforests of the sea, are among the planet’s most diverse and valuable ecosystems. They provide habitat for countless marine species, support fisheries that feed millions of people, and protect coastlines from erosion and storm damage. However, these vital ecosystems face unprecedented threats from climate change, pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction. In the face of these challenges, two bold and bright women, Dr. Emma Camp and Dr. Diva Amon, are working hard to safeguard these fragile ecosystems.


Bringing Innovation to Coral Reef Restoration

Dr. Camp’s journey into marine conservation began with a deep-seated passion for the ocean and a desire to make a tangible difference in protecting marine life. Equipped with a Ph.D. in Marine Science, she embarked on a career focused on understanding and mitigating the impacts of human activities on reefs. Her research has taken her to some of the world’s most remote reef ecosystems, where she has witnessed firsthand the beauty and fragility of these underwater worlds.

One of Dr. Camp’s most notable contributions to coral reef conservation is her groundbreaking research on coral restoration techniques. With coral reefs facing threats from warming oceans and coral bleaching events, the need for innovative solutions to restore and rehabilitate degraded reefs has never been greater. Through her work, Dr. Camp has pioneered novel approaches to coral reef restoration, including attaching corals with a CoralClip® to accelerate reef recovery.

In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Camp is actively involved in community engagement and education initiatives. Recognizing the importance of raising awareness about coral reefs and empowering local communities to take action, she collaborates with governments, conservation organizations, and grassroots initiatives to develop outreach programs, workshops, and public lectures. Through these efforts, she inspires the next generation of conservationists to become stewards of the ocean and advocates for protecting the reefs.


Exploring the Depths of Deep-Sea Coral Reefs

As a marine biologist specializing in deep-sea ecology, Dr. Amon has conducted extensive research on deep-sea coral reefs, which share similarities with their shallow-water counterparts in terms of their ecological functions and vulnerability to anthropogenic threats. Her studies use advanced technologies such as remotely operated vehicles and deep-sea submersibles to explore and document marine ecosystems across different ocean regions.

By studying these often-overlooked ecosystems, she provides valuable insights into their importance as biodiversity hotspots and habitats for a wide range of marine species, including commercially valuable fish and invertebrates. Her research also sheds light on the threats facing deep-sea coral reefs, such as deep-sea mining, bottom trawling, and climate change, which have direct implications for shallow-water coral reefs too.

Dr. Amon actively engages with policymakers, industry stakeholders, and the public to raise awareness about the importance of conserving coral reef ecosystems and the urgent need to address threats such as climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Through her advocacy efforts, Dr. Amon promotes the implementation of science-based management measures—including establishing marine protected areas and sustainable fishing practices to safeguard coral reef habitats and biodiversity.


Spotlighting Women’s Leadership in Conservation

As Women’s History Month continues, Brightmark recognizes the efforts of women making remarkable strides for the environment. Their passion, expertise, and dedication remind us of women’s vital role in shaping a more sustainable future for our planet. 


Here are some actionable steps you can take to support coral reef conservation:

Recycle your plastic: Plastic waste harms marine life—and there’s a significant amount of plastic waste in the environment. However, there are new and advanced methods for mitigating this waste through recycling. Technologies like Brightmark’s can fully recycle any type of plastic waste back into new products—diverting plastic waste from landfills, incinerators, and the environment. Other ways to reduce unnecessary plastic waste are to opt for reusable alternatives and support efforts to reduce plastic waste—like recycling.

Travel responsibly: Choose eco-conscious tourism operators who support sustainable practices and reef conservation initiatives.

Educate yourself and others: Share information about the importance of coral reefs and the threats they face.

Support organizations: Donate or volunteer your time with organizations that protect coral reefs.

Make responsible seafood choices: Avoid unsustainable fishing practices that damage coral reefs.

Reduce your carbon footprint: Climate change is a major threat to reefs. Take steps to reduce your carbon emissions.

Collective action helps conservationists like Dr. Camp, Dr. Amon, and countless other dedicated individuals ensure that coral reefs continue to thrive for generations.

If you’re looking for more ways to help the oceans—including the reefs—explore Brightmark’s free environmental resources here.

Iyon Baker Headshot
Iyon Baker
Content Manager

Iyon is a curious, creative NC native and Chapel Hill alum who is always eager to embark on new adventures that provide more skills. With a background in advertising, public relations, digital marketing, and fine arts, she uses her skills for copywriting and brand storytelling. Her professional journey has led her to diverse projects that taught her to embrace challenges and adapt to any situation. In her leisure time, Iyon enjoys gardening, knitting, and traveling.

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