Monthly report updates from our Reefscapers coral biologists at Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru.

You may also be interested in our extensive report on Coral Bleaching (2016), our previous yearbooks for 2017 – and – 2018, or the Coral Frame Collection gallery to view photographs of your own sponsored coral frame as part of our Reefscapers coral propagation project.

Below: Junior Marine Savers help with our Reefscapers activities.

Reefscapers - NOAA coral bleaching forecast for May 2019 Maldives

January 2019

At Landaa Giraavaru, 21 new coral frames were transplanted during January (located mainly at the Dive and Al Barakat sites) and a further 350 frames were monitored (cleaned, maintained, photographed) around the island. In addition, we also relocated 250 frames under the central walkway at Water Villas, arranged into two parallel lines to provide shade from the sun during the upcoming warmer months, and to afford protection from some planned maintenance work.

Due to the recent success of our exploratory dives, we have started a new area at ‘Anchor Point’, 18m deep. It is hoped that frames placed here will exhibit increased resistance to the impending warmer temperatures, due to depth and regular strong water flow.

Reefscapers - NOAA coral bleaching forecast for May 2019 Maldives
At Kuda Huraa, we transplanted a total of 18 new coral frames and monitored a further 195 existing frames around the island. Our repeat guests have been commenting on the improvements in appearance of the corals in the Channel snorkelling area. In the coming months, we will focus frame deployment at the Water Villa site, which offers shading under the boardwalk to minimise the potential for coral bleaching (currently predicted by NOAA for the end of May).

The house reef continues to be a difficult site, as our recently transplanted Montipora fragments have been predated by fish. Acropora fragments harvested from large House Reef colonies show greater resilience to predation, but these are in limited supply. Some Crown of Thorns (COTs) were removed from the Water Villa frames; our records do show increases in COTs during this monsoonal season (December-February).

Reefscapers - crown of thorns Marine Savers Maldives

Crown of Thorns starfish eating the corals on our frames

We have been making a new starfish pattern on the western reef flat. Frames were relocated from the shallow House Reef as the coral here continued to experience heavy predation and excessive growth of macro algae.
Many of the frames are currently in poor condition and require extensive replenishing with site-specific resilient species (Acropora digitifera, staghorn Acropora, Pocillopora).

Coral Plates

The Acropora millepora coral fragments have now fused together, and the distinct boundaries are no longer visible. In addition, an encrusted Acropora tenuis seems to be overgrowing and killing the neighbouring A.millepora fragment.

Coral plate January 2019 Marine Savers Maldives

Coral plate, January 2019

Coral plate Acropora tenuis (bottom) overgrowing Acropora millepora (top)

Acropora tenuis (bottom) overgrowing Acropora millepora (top)

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