ICRI Ask The Expert Series

Raising Awareness of the Importance and threats of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are vital ecosystems that support a staggering biodiversity, providing a habitat for countless marine species. However, these delicate ecosystems are under severe threat due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing. The creation of a video series featuring experts in the field, allows access to in-depth knowledge about the significance of coral reefs and the imminent dangers they face. Such a platform allows scientists, conservationists, and researchers to share their insights, presenting a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand. Moreover, the visual and engaging nature of the videos facilitates a broader reach, making complex scientific information more accessible to a diverse audience. The series serves as a powerful tool to inspire collective action, fostering a sense of responsibility and encouraging viewers to contribute towards the preservation of coral reef ecosystems.

ICRI has therefore produced a series of short, interview-style videos (1 to 2 minutes), collectively released as the ‘Ask the Expert Series’. The videos have been structured in a Question & Answer format with internationally recognised experts. A total of 10 videos have been produced with subtitles in both French and Spanish. Learn more about the importance of each video below.

What are coral Reefs?

Serge Planes – CRIOBE

Coral reefs are made up of colonies of hundreds to thousands of tiny individual corals, called polyps. These marine invertebrate animals are structural architects that form the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. In this video learn more about what coral reefs are and why they are important.

Coral Reefs and Marine Biodiversity Hotspots

Melanie McField – Healthy Reefs for Healthy People

Coral reefs are the most diverse habitats on the planet. Despite covering less than 1 percent of the ocean, they are home to 25% of all known marine species. They provide food and shelter for animals and are key indicators of overall ocean health. In this video learn more about what the conservation of coral reefs means for the diversity of an entire ecosystem.

Corals and Invasive Species

Fadilah Ali – Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI)

Invasive species are non-native organisms that enter a new ecosystem and, due to their adaptability and lack of natural predators, can cause significant harm to the native species and disrupt the balance of the ecosystem. One such invasive species that has become a major concern for coral reefs is the lionfish. In this video learn more about the impacts of lionfish in the Caribbean.

Coral Diseases

Caroline McLaughlin – Sea Grant NOAA

Coral diseases are complex issues influenced by a combination of biotic and abiotic factors. Understanding and addressing these challenges are vital for the conservation and protection of coral reefs, which play a crucial role in supporting marine biodiversity and providing essential ecosystem services. Coral diseases can have severe consequences for coral reefs. The frequency of coral diseases has increased significantly over the last 10 years, causing widespread mortality among reef-building corals. In this video learn more about a prevalent disease known as Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).

Coral Reefs and Youth

Esther Maina – Kenyan Youth Biodiversity Network

Coral reefs are facing numerous threats, including climate change, overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. Engaging youth ensures that there is a generation actively invested in the long-term health and sustainability of coral reefs. In addition, Youth bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a willingness to challenge conventional thinking. In the face of complex and evolving challenges, these qualities are invaluable for finding new, effective solutions to conserve coral reefs. In this video learn more about the role of youth in implementing action for coral reefs.

Corals and Local Communities

Carol Phua – The World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Most people do not understand that coral reefs and local communities are inextricably linked. Healthy coral reefs provide sources of sustainable food, livelihoods and income generation, and protection from storm surge for more than one billion people. In this video learn more about how local communities rely on coral reefs.

Corals and Small Islands

Winfred Mudong – Micronesia Conservation Trust

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) span from the Caribbean to the Pacific via other islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and South China Sea, the SIDS are a mosaic of diversity. Differing in terms of population size and densities, geographical spread, and present differentiated development patterns. 30% of the world’s ocean natural and cultural resources are under their custodianship and the safeguarding of these resources are becoming increasingly challenging as a result of multiple combined factors. In this video learn why coral reefs are important for small islands and the people who live there.

Local Communities and Coral Reef Conservation

Maru Samuels – Maori Fisheries Economy


Indigenous communities often possess indigenous local knowledge that has been passed down through generations. This knowledge can include sustainable fishing practices, traditional resource management, and an understanding of the delicate balance within ecosystems. Incorporating these insights can enhance the effectiveness of conservation strategies. In this video hear from Maru Samuels on how one can properly integrate indigenous local knowledge into coral reef conservation.

Local Communities and The Spiritual Link with Corals

Diwigdi Valiente – Youth Representative

Many coastal communities, especially those in regions with coral reefs, have deep-rooted connections to the marine environment and its biodiversity. It’s important to note that the spiritual link between corals and local communities can vary widely among different cultures and regions. Understanding and respecting these connections is crucial for effective conservation efforts, as it allows for the incorporation of local knowledge and values into sustainable practices. In this video learn more about the Kuna People of Panama’s link to the ocean and coral reefs.

If Coral Reefs Disappeared in 2050

Compilation of coral reef experts from around the world

In this video ICRI bring together the voices of coral reef experts from around the world to shed light on the catastrophic idea of the disappearance of coral reefs by the year 2050. It aims to inspire viewers to join the fight to save coral reefs, promoting awareness, education, and collective action #ForCoral.

Financial Support

The Government of Sweden, through the administration by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF), and the Principality of Monaco continues to support the ICRI Secretariat in order to achieve the goals of the ICRI Plan of Action 2021 – 2024: Turning the Tide for Coral Reefs.

Filming of the Series

The ‘Ask the Expert Series’ was filmed at the 37th ICRI General Meeting in September 2023 by Icebreaker Studios.

New topics

Kindly share with us any significant subjects you would be interested in seeing next by contacting the ICRI Secretariat here.