RAJA AMPAT BIODIVERSITY ECO RESORT
CORAL NURERY UPDATE.
It has now been 5 months since we started our very own coral nursery right here on our house reef. We have now had a number of marine biologists work on this project and our resident marine biologist Mem with one of our guest marine biologists Andrea Martinez have spent hours cleaning, counting and numbering our nursery development so far.
Our nursery was built with fragments of either broken or dying coral pieces. What this means is either due to bad weather causing rough seas or age (sometimes the coral can get too big for its holdings and break) the coral has broken and pieces have fallen down the slope and now are not in a good position for survival, transplanting them to the ‘x-mas tree’ nursery gives them a better chance of survival. Previous projects run in the Caribbean using fragments’ harvested from damaged or dying corals has had a 15% survival rate of the fragments surviving and growing in the Nurseries, this is a much higher chance of them surviving than if they were left where they are.
Corals need a good flow of water and therefore nutrients to flow over them as well as sunlight. Sunlight is one of the most important requirements for the bacteria that form the symbiosis with the coral polyp. They use the sunlight to photosynthesis and produce oxygen and nutrients. Our nursery’s harvested fragments from June are so far sitting at a 38% surviving and growing percentile. There are a number more fragments that are not quite as healthy but surviving, so there is the potential for this number to increase. We will now be doing weekly cleaning of the trees as at this time of the year there are more nutrients in the water. Keeping the trees clean and free of algae helps the fragments survival.
This first nursery trial has been a successes, it confirms that our location and the location of our house reef is highly successful in the growth of a number of coral species.
We are now testing new fragments (much smaller) harvested from healthy corals to see what the growth rate of these fragments is…. we will keep you posted on these.
We now also have plans to develop our nursery further with more ‘X-mas trees’ in the same location and a second site still on our house reef. For these we will still use the x-mas tree method but develop it further and make double the number of branches and use piping for the whole structure ensuring less algae growth and a longer life span of the tree, hopefully remaining viable for use for years to come. It will be like having our own little greenhouse/potting shed for our garden, except our garden just happens to be a coral reef and our plants corals.
After this we plan to set up some coral nursery cots for the growth of the table coral species. So watch this space and see our nursery grow…or better still come join us and see it with your own eyes.