Map the Giants is a project by MaRHE Center of the University of Milano Bicocca aimed at discovering the largest coral colonies in the Maldives to unveil the unique characteristics that make them the most resistant to environmental perturbations and to turn them into a new symbol of marine conservation.
Climate-change and anthropogenic pressures threaten coral reefs causing biodiversity loss and a decrease in coral cover. Corals can grow indefinitely, reaching sheer sizes and several hundred years, but in this coral crisis we might lose some of the most resistant, old and charismatic corals: the GIANTS. Giant corals represent the ideal tools for tracing past oceanographic transformations and modelling the responses to future environmental changes. Furthermore, their resistance to current stressors requires in-depth studies to understand what makes these animals so resistant.
How many giant corals them are there? Where are they? What can we do to protect them? Are they the key to coral resilience?
The idea is to increase the general public’s awareness on corals and recreate the same feeling that one has when protecting a monument, of whatever nature it may be. The goal is to start from the Maldives to then expand to other parts of the world. Citizen scientists from all fields and background scan join us in the quest of discovering these giants.
Cover page image credits: Shaun Wolfe / Ocean Image Bank