The Coral Aquarist Research Network (CARN) is a young program launched in the UK to combine the efforts and knowledge of three unique groups of stakeholders, all in the name of coral. Hobbyists, industry representatives and researchers each share a common interest but seldom have the opportunity to share their knowledge outside their respective peer groups. CARN is attempting to break through those barriers and assemble a common pool of knowledge to further the collective understanding of coral.
The main goal of CARN is to identify common ground, share expertise, initiate research activities and expand awareness of the plight of reef systems while also increasing the overall understanding of coral biology and ecology. Another aspect CARN is working towards is on improving coral survival and sustainability by encompassing aquaculture, transportation, technology, and coral health understanding to improve longevity in captivity as well as identifying what can be done to sustain coral in their natural habitat.
Started in 2009, CARN was started by Philippa Mansell, a Senior Research Officer in the Coral Reef Research Unit (CRRU) at the University of Essex in the UK. CARN was able to move forward with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and in June 2010, CARN held its first conference at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
“The main aim of CARN is to attempt to tackle some key environmental questions whilst also benefiting industry economics and raising awareness of coral reef ecosystems,” said Dr. Mansell in an earlier interview for Practical Fishkeeping Magazine. “The group welcomes input from all interested parties.”
This is a great starting point to help create a common and shared interest in coral health and we are glad to see more efforts involved on bridging the knowledge gap. While this may be initially focused on the UK, with enough input and participation this can easily become an international coalition. CARN is welcoming anyone with interest and information to join in and share in the flow of information.