ReefscapersDuring February, 21 new coral propagation frames were transplanted around the lagoon at Kuda Huraa, and a further 30 at Landaa Giraavaru. We have been placing our coral frames at a starting depth of 5m, due to the forecast of a potential bleaching event that could take place in a few months’ time, which is more likely to affect the shallow corals in warmer waters.
Our monitoring and maintenance work is continuing, as we remove any dead coral colonies that we find to increase space for the growth of living ones, and re-transplant new fragments onto the younger frames when necessary. We have also been tackling the growth of filamentous algae on a few frames, where it has been blocking out sunlight and smothering coral underneath. A second form of algae is affecting other frames – dense and globular, with a sponge or rubber-like consistency (possibly a type of ‘Sea Cauliflower’).
During February, we saw three spawns from our Maldivian Clownfish (Amphiprion nigripes) and a further three from the Clarks Clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii). By end of the month, we had 1240 Juveniles of Clarks and 233 Juveniles of Maldivian Clownfish.
Production of our Algae, Rotifers and Artemia are going well, and we have ample food supplies for all our newly hatched fish larvae, sea horses and corals. Our anemone garden is coming along slowly, with 27 specimens of Heteractis magnifica (‘magnificent’ or ‘Ritteri’ sea anemone) and a single Heteractis aurora specimen (a sea anemone known by many different common names: beaded, aurora, sand, carpet, flat, corn, saddle-tip, adhesive).
February proved to be a good month for cetacean species, with calm and clear days perfect for spotting, and giving a 100% success rate. We encountered spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) most frequently, pod sizes ranging from 8 to 200 individuals, often with calves. We also sighted bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in much smaller pods, and a single small pod of short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) during a morning cruise, north of Landaa Giraavaru.