Titouan Bernicot
Author: Ryan Borne for Coral Gardeners
2023

Titouan Bernicot

Coral Conservationist

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meet titouan

Titouan Bernicot grew up on an atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, swimming with sharks before he could walk. After witnessing alarming degradation of his home reef, he founded Coral Gardeners in 2017 at 18, now a team of over 30. Titouan has a global movement of half a million people — advocates, scientists, engineers and creators — determined to revolutionize ocean conservation and save the world’s coral reefs. He and his team have planted over 30,900 corals in French Polynesia, with the goal of planting one million corals around the world by 2025 by empowering local communities to become coral gardeners.

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Nominated by: Richard Wiese FN'89
Class of 2023 Location Tuamotu Archipelago
Author: Ryan Borne for Coral Gardeners

I realized that corals are the foundations of a healthy ocean and giving me everything in my life — from the reef waves I surf, the fish I eat almost every day, the protection and livelihood of my island — but they were dying around the world and around me nothing tangible was done to stop this. My work leading Coral Gardeners is highly focused on impact both in and out of the ocean through reef restoration, community awareness, and innovation & science development.

“[We are] rallying a new generation and giving them hope that it’s not too late to fix our blue planet and their future.”

- Titouan Bernicot
Author: Ryan Borne for Coral Gardeners

The core of our work is propagating climate-resilient corals in our nurseries and planting them on the reef to restore the abundance and biodiversity of the ecosystem. I fell in love with the process of having a little coral farm underwater, fa’a’apu in Tahitian. Our method has proven to be a powerful tool to educate and empower local communities in the protection of their island and livelihood. In only a few years, more than 4,800 people, from kids to surfers to fishermen, participated hands-on in our gardening workshops, and we have covered more than 5,000 square meters of reef. To optimize our restoration methods, we created our own research center, working to advance field research of coral reef restoration, still fairly new. The CG Labs launched ReefOS, Reef Observing System, a network of devices such as underwater cameras, smart buoys, and a monitoring application collecting data about the reef.

People all around the world rely on coral reefs to survive, and we raise awareness globally to inspire people to take action for the reef and tackle climate change, reaching more than 200 million people through collaborations with media, celebrities and partners like National Geographic and Rolex. On social media, we are the most followed coral reef conservation project in the world, rallying a new generation and giving them hope that it’s not too late to fix our blue planet and their future.

there are 49 other visionary explorers

read about the class of 2023