Revised Prize Overview

**Thank you for all of your feedback! Based on the input we’ve gotten in this community and at Reef Futures, here is a revised Prize Overview.

Please note especially the separation into larval and asexual restoration tracks. We welcome your feedback on any aspect of this but in particular would love to know your thoughts on if we have the right metrics to judge restoration in both the larval and asexual track.

Winning Team Will Statement:
The winning team will restore the largest area of coral reef in a two-year period, with a minimum of five hectares restored and at least three different genera of corals.

Phase 1: Registration (6 months)
• When teams register, they will have to declare for either the Asexual or Larval reproduction track.
o While both tracks will ultimately be judged against the same overall goal—restore the greatest number of hectares of coral in a two-year period—the main difference between the two tracks will be the criteria for determining whether a hectare of coral is, in fact, restored.
o In both tracks, teams must ensure they are planting native species at a depth close to/within the natural range corals exist in that region.

*Asexual Track: *
• Judging whether a hectare is “restored” in the Asexual Track will focus more on live coral cover and ecosystem indicators such as low density of fleshy macroalgae, and recruitment of commercial and herbivorous fish.

Larval Track:
• Judging whether a hectare is “restored ” in the Larval Track will focus more on live colony density.

Phase 2: Technical Submissions (6 months)
• Registered teams will have six months to experiment and ultimately create proposals on how they plan to achieve large scale restoration

• A panel of judges will choose the 20 most promising proposals in each track to move on to the semi-final Demonstration Phase

• Optional video can be submitted here

Phase 3: Demonstration (2 weeks)
• The 20 semi-finalist teams selected out of the Screening Phase will now have to demonstrate their ideas and technologies for coral restoration and survival in a “proof of concept” round.
• Teams will be given significant latitude about how to best make their case to the judging panel:
o For teams where this is appropriate, facilities will be available at the demonstration site to “wet test” solutions.
o For teams where a live wet test would not make sense, they will be able to make their case to the judges through partial demonstrations of their technology, previously recorded video or other methods.
o Teams will demonstrate their plans for how to restore at least five hectares of corals in the final round, including a presentation on a proposed area to be restored, species, techniques, and personnel that will be involved.
o However they choose to do it, teams must demonstrate that their approach can credibly achieve the minimum requirements in the final round.
• Teams are judged by an interdisciplinary team of engineers and coral biologists who will choose eight of the most promising teams to move forward to a final large-scale deployment, ideally four from each track, with a minimum of at least two from each track.
• XPRIZE will also invite non-competing experts, academics, professionals and other thought leaders in this space to facilitate further cross-collaboration.

Phase 4: Final Large-Scale Deployment (2 years)
• Up to eight finalist teams will pick a degraded reef in a location of their choosing. They will have to follow TBD specifications from XPRIZE with respect to which locations they may choose and must also navigate permitting and follow local regulations
o In order to try to achieve more fairness, weighting criteria will be applied to different regions as appropriate so that a team that picks a more favourable location with respect to water temperature, conditions, and other factors will not have an advantage over other teams.
• Teams will then have two years to restore as many hectares of degraded reef as possible, with the winning team in each category (larval and asexual) being the one that restores the most hectares, with a minimum of five hectares.
o Whether or not a hectare is considered restored, will be a binary decision—i.e. at the end of two years a hectare of reef will be judged as being either “restored” or “not restored” according to the criteria appropriate for each track.
o Teams must submit evidence at the beginning of the two-year period that shows the site they’re planning to restore is classified as degraded to begin with.

While I agree that these two methods need to be judged according to different criteria there is a risk in excluding or disadvantaging a mixed bag solution, which is quite likely to have the best overall success (provide structure/habitat, while also ensuring diversity). As long as we remain flexible in how we select the semi-finalists, it might work, but need to be careful that those that chose to do a mix don’t get disadvantaged.

Great comment @Petra , and yes a hybrid approach could be quite successful and we hope one occurs in the prize. We haven’t heard of good examples of this approach happening yet but want to encourage/allow for it. Do you know of anyone working on these techniques? We may have to have a cutoff where hybrid approaches are judged more in the asexual track with live coral cover counted rather than colony density, or allow for the possibility of a third judging framework being developed if that technique is proposed within the prize.

Hi @DanSelz! this project sounds absolutely amazing and I wish all the teams nothing but success. My professor at Penn State was working with hybridization of coral and her team was able to create a successful hybrid that regrew off the coast of the Pacific. Any team that is looking to bring on another expert her name is Professor Iliana Baums. LETS REBUILD the Coral! ??