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Coralisma is a non-profit organization striving to rebuild coral reefs in Mexico. Coralisma focuses on coral restoration, education, and conservation. As of November 2022, Coralisma has restored over 2,800 corals onto the Mesoamerican reef. 


Coralisma is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and conservation of coral reefs in Mexico, while also engaging in community education initiatives to raise awareness about these vital ecosystem. As of November 2022, Coralisma has restored over 3,500+ corals onto the reefs of the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Our founders, Marina Garmendia and Isabela Rios, are two Open Water Dive Instructors and Marine Scientists who have witnessed the rapid decline of coral reefs worldwide through their diving careers. To combat the rising degradation of corals, Coralisma was born.

Inspired by global restoration movements, in 2018, the founders started Coralisma as a non-profit project that brought Coral Restoration Foundations® revolutionary methodology in Florida to their home country, Mexico. This first initiative created a coral tree nursery in Mexico. After two years, those same corals matured in the nursery and were out-planted back onto the reefs of Playa del Carmen in March 2020.

Since our founding in 2018, we have accomplished some incredible goals. Coralisma is officially an established non-profit organization that utilizes a variety of methodologies to restore an array of species. Our latest project focuses on the coral microfragmentation of stony corals (Learn More). We are proud to have the international support of governmental organizations, private companies, and universities. 



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Coral Trees - Fragmentation 

We harness coral's natural ability to reproduce asexually through a process called fragmentation. When a coral breaks, the fragments can grow into new colonies, essentially genetic copies of the parent colony. The Coral Restoration Foundation® has developed a method to capitalize on this process. Therefore, Coralisma received training from them and adopted this methodology to establish the first coral tree nursery in Mexico, following 5 main steps:

  1. Collect corals of opportunity

  2. Fragment into 5 cm of healthy coral 

  3. Hang in coral trees 

  4. Provided coral maintenance 

  5. Outplant back onto the reef. 

Coral Bases -Microfragemenation

Microfragmentation is a methodology invented by Dr. David Vaughan used to restore stony corals. The process can be divided into five main steps.

  1. Collect corals of opportunity

  2. Tank Quarantine

  3. Micro-fragmentation

  4. Paste Micro-fragments onto Cement Bases

  5. Coral Out-Plant!


Finally, the healthy micro-fragments are moved onto their new home, cement bases at restoration sites. The main focus is to place these small pieces of coral close to each other so the tissue grows and becomes one. Once it has grown all around the cement structure, the coral will have the size of a mature adult coral. Independently from age,  if a coral is large enough, it will have the ability to sexually reproduce, ultimately increasing coral density and diversifying the reef. Learn More.

Any scuba diver can tell you that reefs today are not the same as they were ten years ago. In short, coral reefs are dying. Preservation, restoration, and education are key for the future of our coral reefs. ​​Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, yet they are home to a quarter of marine life. If they die, more than 1 billion species, including the fish we eat, will disappear. More than ⅙ of the world's population depends on coral reefs for coastal protection, livelihood, and income.


Many factors, such as runoff pollution, diver impact, overfishing, oxybenzone sunscreens, and anthropogenic climate change, contribute to coral death. In the Riviera Maya, coral bleaching is a re-occurring phenomenon that has caused coral death in the past four decades. Coral bleaching results in the loss of coral’s symbiotic algae partner, which, in healthy conditions, supplies the coral with a large percentage of its essential nutrients. A bleached coral is susceptible to diseases and death. Coral bleaching is a stressor response, much like a fever in humans. Corals will start to bleach if the temperatures spike over 1°C of the average summer temperature. A bleached coral suffers from the loss of its primary food source and will begin to starve. By planting a higher density of corals onto the reefs in advantageous reef sites, we can fight this coral reef degradation to preserve these beautiful, essential ecosystems.


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