Dolphins at Kuda Huraa Maldives

Pod of Spinner dolphins photographed near Kuda Huraa

Fish Lab & Marine Aquaria

Plankton Production

The month began promisingly with increasing rotifer counts, and improved algae quality. We have found that a longer wash of the rotifers is all that was required to rid the culture of ciliates (for now), however, we are still looking into purchasing options for a concentrated Nannochloropsis feed, to maintain water quality and reduce bio-fouling, while providing superior nutritional value to the rotifers.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the month, we had an unexplained crash in rotifer numbers. We have transferred the remaining rotifers in the culture into a 20l algae bucket to save them, and we will monitor closely over the coming weeks.

We have continued using the saltwater hydration method for Artemia, and we are now using day-1 Artemia for jellyfish feeds (and day-2 for main tank feeds).

We have filtered and restarted the Nannochloropsis cultures (replacing the N2 and NF2 cultures).

Aquarium large 4000L display tank Maldives

Our large 4000L marine aquarium display at the Marine Discovery Centre, Landaa Giraavaru (Baa Atoll, Maldives)

Large Aquarium

  • The main aquarium has had several new additions over December, including a six-spot goby and cleaner wrasse, both of which have integrated well with the existing population.
  • We have cleaned excess algae from the tank, and removed one of the soft coral specimens.
  • We are currently exploring new options to improve circulation around the tank, preferring premium water-movement technology with readily available replacement parts.

Small Aquarium One

  • Mini coral frame – five coral fragments remain healthy, but the remainder are showing some loss of tissue.
  • Small Aquarium Two
  • Mini coral frame – a few fragments show signs of stress or mortality, but most are encrusting over the cable ties.
  • Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkia) – laid eggs three times this month. The Blue Damselfish continues to lay eggs under the mushroom coral.

Linckia multifora sea stars

  • SS1 (large specimen) – succumbed to disease and died early this month.
  • SS3 (large specimen) – the arm that detached in April continues to grow well
Fish lab new display tanks [LG 2020.12] [1080]

Our Fish Lab – during December, we created five new display tanks (#11-15) with new lighting, and deep cleaned all of our tanks.

Jellyfish – Aurelia aurita

We now have 5 tanks of growing jellyfish:
(1) polyp tank #20, (2) small-jelly Kreisel, (3) a medium-jelly Kreisel, (4) a large-jelly Kreisel, (5) main display.

They are all healthy, however, growth seems to have slowed during the last month, perhaps due to our revised schedule of feeding them Artemia only once per day.

The new UV light is keeping algal growth to a minimum, and it now takes two months to exhibit visible algae on the walls of the tank. We have also designed and implemented a new vacuum drainage method, which has reduced the water change time from 24+ hours down to 12 hours.

We continue to hone our techniques and requirements to keep the jellyfish growing, with over half of the jellyfish surviving into the New Year. We still have 300,000 jellyfish in the polyp stage, and are confident that our methods will continue to produce good results.

[*] Strobilation is defined as asexual reproduction by transverse division of the body segments which develop into separate individuals.

Aquarium jellyfish Aurellia staging tanks
Aquarium jellyfish Aurellia staging tanks
Aquarium jellyfish Aurellia staging tanks

REEFSCAPERS Coral Propagation Program

Monthly Progress

During December, we transplanted 21 new coral frames at Landaa, and 12 new frames at Kuda Huraa.

On 25 December, we held our annual Xmas dive, joined by guests and dive team members who helped to transplant our festive frames.

We also retrieved our temperature loggers to study the ocean temperatures from the past 7 months (graph, degrees Centigrade).

Check out our Reefscapers Diary for further project details and all our latest photographs, including reports on coral spawning and updates on our autonomous AI coral ID project.

Reefscapers coral Xmas tree dive
Reefscapers Xmas tree frame SUN
Temperature loggers SST

Sea Turtle Conservation

Hawksbill turtle hatchlings stranded Maldives

One of our ‘Jungle‘ Hawksbill turtle hatchling patients

By the close of December, we were caring for 4 Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) in our Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa.
At Kuda Huraa, we have 2 Olive Ridleys, plus 25 rehabilitating hatchlings: 8 green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and 17 Hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata).

On 23 December, ‘Sunset’ was successfully released from Kuda Huraa beach (photos, right).

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.

Spotted a turtle?  Share your photos

Here's 'Miss Varu' enjoying her regular lagoon swim... As part of the rehabilitation process conducted at the Marine...

Posted by Four Seasons Resorts Maldives on Thursday, 10 December 2020
Turtle rehabilitation and release Maldives SUNSET
Turtle rehabilitation and release Maldives SUNSET
Turtle identification Maldives (CM214)

Green turtle #CM214, from our ID database of Maldivian turtles

Junior Marine Savers activities

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 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.

Junior Marine Savers photos: (1) Transplanting a Reefscapers coral frame; (2) feeding turtle hatchlings.

Junior Marine Savers activities
Dolphins at Kuda Huraa Maldives

This magnificent Maldive anemonefish, showing off its bright orange colour and white headband, is only found in the...

Posted by Reefscapers on Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Our Unreleasable Turtle Residents

Our Current Turtle Patients

Our Turtle Hatchling Patients

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Pilot whales at Kuda Huraa Maldives

Photo: small pod of Pilot Whales, photographed in January 2021 near Kuda Huraa, Maldives