Coral Reef Alliance

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is a non-profit, environmental NGO that is on a mission to save the world’s coral reefs. We work collaboratively with communities to reduce direct threats to reefs in ways that provide lasting benefits to people and wildlife. In parallel, CORAL is actively expanding the scientific understanding of how corals adapt to climate change and applying this information to give reefs the best chance to thrive for generations to come. This combined expertise uniquely positions us to achieve our mission by rallying the conservation community around  scalable and effective solutions for coral reefs.

Coral Reef Alliance
Berkeley, California
TypeCharitable organization
Key people
Michael Webster, Executive Director

Although they cover less than 0.1 percent of the earth's surface, coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world. They are also among the most threatened. Today, coral reefs face multiple stressors at different scales. When global threats like warming waters combine with direct threats like overfishing and water pollution, it severely compromises the ability of corals to grow, reproduce and thrive. As much as one-third of all reef-building corals are at risk of extinction. Scientists predict that all corals will be threatened by 2050, with 75 percent facing high to critical threat levels.


The organization was founded in 1994 by Stephen Colwell. In the beginning, the goal was simple: to engage the diving community in coral reef conservation. Today, CORAL's mission of saving the world's coral reefs has dramatically broadened the scope of its work to a global scale.

Over the past 25 years, CORAL has grown from a small, grassroots alliance into a world-renowned organization with a history of successfully working with local communities in coral reef regions around the world to protect their coral reefs. As we move forward, we recognize that to save coral reefs, we will need to organize the global community of scientists, conservationists, governments and reef-dependent communities around solutions that scale. We know that we can’t achieve our mission alone—and, indeed, it would be foolish to try given the countless efforts underway globally to save coral reefs.

Based on the scientific work we’re doing now, we realize that it’s the global collection of Adaptive Reefscapes that are our best chance of getting coral reefs through the bottleneck of climate change. By rallying the conservation community around our solution to the coral reef crisis, we can build alliances to achieve lasting outcomes for coral reefs across the globe.

The Next 25 Years

Our research shows that to save the world’s coral reefs and preserve their benefits for people and wildlife, reef-building corals must successfully adapt to a changing climate through the process of evolutionary rescue. Fortunately, new scientific information is emerging, including a recent publication in Nature Climate Change by CORAL and partners, that is helping provide answers to what we can do to help corals adapt to climate change. We have also estimated how much effort it will take to save the world’s coral reefs. Scientific research shows that CORAL’s innovative Adaptive Reefscapes approach is the best way to facilitate evolutionary rescue.

If we can establish a large, globally-distributed network of Adaptive Reefscapes, we can save coral reefs. That’s because nearly all the reefs on earth will have nearby sources of well-adapted corals as climate stabilizes in the centuries ahead.

CORAL has a bold plan to establish 45 Adaptive Reefscapes around the world by 2045. But we can’t do it alone. We will need to engage the whole coral conservation community and rally the field around a scalable, realistic, global approach to saving coral reefs.

For the last 25 years, CORAL has been delivering high-quality conservation programs that have made a difference in the world. Our work has even pioneered a new area of science related to helping corals to adapt at regional scales. All this has prepared CORAL to take the next step in its progression as an organization: leveraging our knowledge and reputation as a highly trusted partner to rally the conservation community to save coral reefs at a global scale.


The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.[1] They depend on the support of individual donors, foundations, and corporate and government grants to build grassroots conservation partnerships among local community members, government leaders, and marine recreation providers in coral reef destinations around the world.[1]

CORAL has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.


  1. "Financials". Coral Reef Alliance. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
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