16-10-2017 11:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
A life dedicated to saving ecosystems
Chen Hong is a coral scientist who realized his childhood dream by devoting his life to exploring the mysteries of the seas, especially the "lungs of the oceans", coral reefs. He is on a mission to restore the coral reefs that have been damaged by global warming, land-based sewage, illegal fishing activities and too much tourism.
Chen, a 52-year-old oceanic scientist conducted experiments for more than 10 years and mastered at least six kinds of technology for growing coral under different environments with their survival rate being as high as 90 percent.
Coral reefs are the forest of the ocean which attracts fish, algae and other marine life forms, gradually evolving into “an undersea city". Although they occupy less than 0.25 percent of sea area, they shelter and nourish more than one-quarter of the oceans' fish resources.
Chen explained that due to rise in sea temperatures rise, zooxanthellae parasitic plants that are essential for the survival of coral reefs are expelled due to which bleaching occurs leading to the death of reefs.
Chen yearned for a lifestyle of pure research into nature. He spent most of his earnings on research and worked ceaselessly in the laboratories studying the growth of various corals and leading his teams in monitoring the waters in Hainan- where he had set up his research institute-with support from local governments and institutions.
Chen and his team visited Xisha islands about 20 times and has planted more than 9,500 corals, tridacna clams and large-size seaweed. His exploration of Xisha led to the discovery of new coral species and a seaweed bed ecosystem, which has enriched Xisha's eco-diversity.