Driving a new scientific and social praxis.
Who we are
Established in 2012, the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research is a 501(c)(3) [USA] and 1101.01 [PR] non-profit organization that develops innovative research on ecological restoration of coral reefs, potable water, and climate change science.
Our programs and projects span a wide range of environmental conservation and social justice initiatives that reflect the core mission of ISER Caribe to conserve the environment, empower communities, and promote healthy and sustainable livelihoods.
Collaborative efforts for the conservation and restoration of marine environments in Puerto Rico and the wider Caribbean region.
Equitable solutions to address the global climate crisis, emphasizing fair treatment for vulnerable communities disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and climate change.
Engaging with and connecting, fostering communication, building relationships, and implementing initiatives to address the needs, concerns, and aspirations of the community members.
Caribbean Reef Project
With the aim to restore 5 acres of coral reef ecosystems throughout Puerto Rico, this project is the largest coral reef restoration project in Puerto Rico. Restoration will take place through rearing corals and marine herbivores such as sea urchins and crabs at land-based nurseries and then outplanting those corals and herbivores on 6 coral reefs in La Parguera, Mayaguez and Fajardo. Observations show that outplanting herbivores on coral reefs reduces the amount of harmful algae on the reef, leading to greater survival of the corals, and a more balanced reef ecosystem.
The Caribbean Reef Project also aims to increase awareness about the importance of coral reefs in Puerto Rico through the production and screening of a short documentary film and coral reef guidebooks and publications. As well as train the next generation of scientists and other organizations throughout the Caribbean in coral reef restoration through providing a number of trainings and workshops on restoration techniques.
This project is in partnership with many other Puerto Rican institutions, agencies, and marine restoration organizations including the Department of Marine Science at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, Isla Mar Research Expeditions, HJR Reefscaping, Puerto Rico Sea Grant, Sea Ventures Marine Response Unit, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, and NOAA’s Restoration Center. In addition, ISER Caribe is working with a number of external partners including, Mote Marine Laboratory, State of Hawai'i Division of Aquatic Resources, Unidad Académica de Sistemas Arrecifales Puerto Morales, and Aquatic Innovations to aid in the development of the crab and sea urchin hatcheries, and the program to sexually reproduce coral recruits. This project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
The Center for Research and Restoration of Marine Organisms (CIROM in Spanish) facilities are the first land-based nurseries for marine organisms in Puerto Rico. CIROM has two facilities, one in Ceiba and the other in La Parguera at Department of Marine Science (DMS) at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez marine labs, Isla Magueyes. The CIROM facilities were developed by ISER Caribe, with collaboration from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, DMS, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center.