Taco is one of our resident Olive Ridley rescue turtles, who lost 3 of his flippers due to entanglement in ghost netting.
He’s been with us for 3 years now, and can sadly never be released due to his permanent amputations.
Fish Lab & Marine Aquaria
Damselfish eggs laid in Aquarium-2 at Kuda Huraa
Small Aquarium One
Mini coral frame – the five remaining fragments are recovering and healthy.
Small Aquarium Two
Mini coral frame – newly recoated and retransplanted, the fragments have started to encrust over the cable tie and onto the frame.
Our Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkia) and our blue damselfish both laid 2 clutches of eggs this month.
Linckia multifora sea stars
SS1 (large specimen) – one of the arms is much shorter, so we think it has separated for regeneration (as happened previously). The newly detached arm hasn’t been spotted in the tank yet.
SS3 (large specimen) – slight reduction in size.
Jellyfish – Aurelia aurita
To replenish the main display tank, we have been attempting to strobilate a small sample of polyps (scyphistoma). They were removed and placed into a controlled environment at 13°C (much lower than the usual 28-30°C) to stimulate strobilation [*] and produce ephyrae, hopefully after 3-4 weeks. The tank water is changed daily to remove excess food and prevent nitrogen build-up.
[*] Strobilation is defined as asexual reproduction by transverse division of the body segments which develop into separate individuals.
A total of 250 ephyrae have been collected and are currently housed in our smallest Kreisel tank. They are fed once daily with enriched day-2 Artemia, and are also subjected to a daily water change. This maintenance is essential to promote quick growth and reduce mortality. Each ephyra must be removed by hand prior to daily maintenance.
Once they grow to 1cm, they are classed as “juvenile medusae” and can be relocated to a larger Kreisel tank. Feeding will then be increased to twice daily, and the daily 100% water changes will continue.
Once they grow to 4cm (in about 4 weeks), they can be moved to the display tank.
The existing population of scyphistoma have been relocated to one of our display tanks, as we will need the large Kreisel aquarium to house the growing medusae.
REEFSCAPERS Coral Propagation Program
Coral Reef Transplanting
The hottest months of the season are now behind us, and the NOAA bleaching projections for Maldives categorised July at “Watch” status for the month.
During July, we restarted our guest-sponsored coral frame propagation program, and we’ve been updating the satellite-positions of our Reefscapers coral frames in the lagoon around our Water Villas at Kuda Huraa.
Many of the paled and bleached corals have been regaining their healthy colouration, both on our coral frames and out on the natural reefs nearby. We are also continuing with our range of experiments to study coral resilience and propagation techniques, including coral coring, coral reproduction and CoralWatch.
Check out our 2020 Diary for further project details, and photographs of the recent coral bleaching.
Healthy Acropora microphthalma growing on a Reefscapers coral frame
Sea Turtle Conservation
Read about Shakti’s rescue & recovery, and follow her journey around the Maldives and beyond, on our satellite tracking map
At our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa, we closed the month of July with 5 rescue Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea), plus the following turtle patients at Kuda Huraa: 6 Olive Ridleys, 5 Hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata), 1 Green (Chelonia mydas).
Meet the patients (below) currently housed in our turtle rehabilitation centres, after being found stranded and rescued from various locations around the Maldives. Most have been entangled in ghost nets (discarded fishing gear) that have drifted into Maldivian waters from overseas, and some are suffering from severe injuries and amputated flippers.
Sea Turtle Nest Protection
We’ve been regularly monitoring the Green Sea turtle nest, found on the beach at Landaa on 8 June. Since 28 July (day 50 of incubation) the nest is being monitored every day at 11:00 pm, 3:30 am and 9:30 am.
Once the eggs hatch, the turtle hatchlings will be evaluated, counted and recorded. If any individuals are seen to be suffering from disease or physical ailments, they will be treated at our dedicated hatchling facility at Kuda Huraa.
Sea Turtle Ocean Enclosure
On 2 July, we reinstalled our sea turtle rehabilitation ocean enclosure.
On 25 July, we transferred Nilukshi (a juvenile Olive Ridley) to the enclosure. She’s making good progress, swimming around and diving down to retrieve food. As soon as Nilukshi starts to rest on the bottom netting, she’ll be ready to be released back into the ocean.
Asha going for a rehabilitation swim before her successful release back to the ocean earlier this year
Maldivian Sea Turtle Identification Program
Turtle photographs are kindly sent to us from members of the public, fellow marine biologists and dive centres stationed at other resorts around the Maldives. Submissions consist of close-up photographs of the turtle facial profile, enabling us to outline the unique pattern of scales (scutes) that act like a human fingerprint.
During July, we received 8 sets of photo submissions from the public towards our national sea turtle identification database for the Maldives. Our current database has 1260 Hawksbills, 219 Greens and 98 Olive Ridleys (with more than 4788 separate sightings).
Spotted a turtle? Share your photos
Green turtle #CM214, from our ID database of Maldivian turtles
Barbara was admitted to our turtle rescue centre in March; she continues to suffer from ‘turtle buoyancy syndrome’ (unable to dive below the water surface) so she cannot yet be released back into the ocean.
Further News & Updates
You might also be interested in our Dolphin ID Project, and our Sea Turtle Enclosure out in the lagoon at Landaa.
Looking for details of our coral propagation programme ?
Head over to our Reefscapers 2020 Diary for all the latest updates.
You can see how your sponsored frame grows by viewing our photo updates every 6 months, as part of our unique Coral Frame Collection.
Photos: (1) Reefscapers coral frames at Kuda Huraa water villas.
(2) Junior Marine Savers learn the importance of corals.