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Scripps New Coral Reef Garden

There was a small celebration at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in early May to celebrate the new “Coral Reef Garden,” recently planned and planted by a talented group of individuals from SIO (left to right): Camilla Ingram (Project Director, not pictured), Greg Snelling (Director of Landscaping and Construction), and Nina Rosen and Brant Chlebowski (both of the Marine Biology Research Division). Terry Parr (SIO graduate) and Kienan Parr, representing C&T Plants, provided many of the plants, and worked on the planting. Camilla Ingram located the special rocks (one of which weighs 7,000 pounds!) which had to be placed by crane. Apologies to those people whom I may not have mentioned.

This was a labor of love, powered by great enthusiasm, and taking many months of planning and research. There are quite a few “undersea” gardens planted locally, but this one is a “coral reef ” garden. So, the rocks were chosen to bring to mind that type of habitat. Rather than the garden bed being covered with gravel, crushed coral and shell hash was spread between the plants, intending to simulate a more realistic seabed in the coral reef. I was told that many of the scientists who walked by while the planting occurred commented on how realistic the big rocks looked compared to what they had seen during their research in similar environments in the ocean itself. Indeed, one of the people who stopped by was a coral researcher who started identifying the little pieces of coral and where they lived! So, it seems to me that the goal of creating a realistic simulation of a coral reef was achieved. But, I recommend you stop by and judge for yourself!

The creators of the Coral Reef Garden invite everyone to visit. It is open to the public and there is no admission charge.

Located at 8755 Biological Grade, La Jolla on the SIO campus, in front of the Eckart Building. There is street parking along La Jolla Shores Drive that is fairly close to the garden. Park next to the Naga Entrance to the campus for closest proximity.


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