RAJA AMPAT BIODIVERSITY ECO RESORT
Coral Nursery Update
It has now been five months since we started our own coral nursery right here in our house reef. We had many marine biologists working on this project. Our resident marine biologist With one of our guest marine biologists Andrea Martinez have spent hours cleaning, counting and numbering our nursery development so far.
Our coral nursery consists of fragments of either broken or dying coral pieces. Most of the time this happens due to bad weather causing rough seas or age. Beyond that, corals can sometimes get too big for its holdings and break. When corals break, pieces fall down the slope. Due to that, they are not in a good position for survival. A transplant of them to the ‘X-mas tree’ nursery gives them a better chance of survival. Our previous projects had a 15% survival rate of the growing fragments in the nurseries. This is a much higher chance of them surviving than if they stay where they are.
Corals need a good flow of water and thus nutrients to flow over them as well as sunlight. Sunlight is one of the most important requirements for the bacterium. Namely, these bacteria form the symbiosis with the coral polyp. They use the sunlight for photosynthesis and produce oxygen and nutrients. Our nursery’s harvested fragments from June have a 38% surviving chance so far. There are many more fragments that are not removed as healthy but surviving. So, there is the potential for this number to increase. We will now be doing a weekly cleaning of the trees since there are more nutrients in the water at this time of the year. Keeping the trees clean and free of algae helps the fragments survival.
This first coral nursery trial has been a success. It confirms that our location and the location of our house reef is very successful in the growth of many coral species. We are now testing new fragments (much smaller) harvested from healthy corals. We want to see what the growth rate of these fragments is. As soon as we have more information, we will let you know.
We also want 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. We want to double the number of branches and use piping for the whole structure. This should help to ensure fewer algae growth and a longer lifespan of the tree. It is like having our own little greenhouse / potting shed for our garden. Except that our garden just happens to be a coral reef and our coral plants.
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 even better: Come to join us and see it with your own eyes.