Reefscapers artificial reefs Maldives house reef

Healthy coral frames photographed this month at Kuda Huraa’s House Reef site

Coral Propagation – Monthly Progress

During March at Landaa, we transplanted 14 new coral frames, and at Kuda Huraa a total of 7 new frames were located to the lagoon.
We are closely monitoring the health of our frames and currently, none of our colonies present any bleaching (as has been recorded elsewhere in the Maldives).
The frames at the Water Villas site can become buried by the shifting sands, but the seasonal thunderstorms are now pushing the sand in the opposite direction. We have now been focusing on CoralWatch monitoring, looking out for signs of bleaching (the flat frames here are an important source of coral fragments for our day-to-day reef reclamation work).

Bleaching Alerts – The global NOAA Bleaching Alerts lists the Maldives’ Baa Atoll at “Watch” status, rising to “Warning” in the upcoming weeks as ocean surface temperatures are expected to rise seasonally. Malé atoll remains in “Watch” status, with elevated temperatures expected to peak at levels lower than last year’s peak.

NOAA bleaching alerts Maldives

2021 NOAA coral bleaching alerts for the Maldives

Reefscapers artificial reefs Maldives healthy coral frame Channel

Healthy coral frames at Kuda Huraa’s Channel site

Reefscapers artificial reefs Maldives water villas

Healthy coral frames at Kuda Huraa’s Water Villas site

Gulhi Falhu Coral Rescue

This month, our Kuda Huraa team conducted a mass coral collection at the industrialised zone in Gulhi Falhu, rescuing corals in danger of becoming smothered by the dredging and land reclamation in the area. We collected 250-300 colonies of various species of Acropora & Pocillopora colonies, to be retransplanted at various sites around Kuda Huraa.
Most of the rescued coral colonies survived the harvesting and transportation, and have started to stabilise in their new location at the Blue Hole site, which acts as a natural refuge and coral nursery thanks to the depth and good water flow.

At the House Reef, we retransplanted some of the rescued Gulhi Falhu colonies to our existing frames, and also to solid rock substrate in the area.

Reefscapers coral rescue Maldives Gulhi Falhu
Reefscapers coral rescue Maldives Gulhi Falhu

Coral Plates in Aquarium One (plates KH01, KH02, KH05) and Aquarium Two (plates KH03, KH04, KH06)

Overall, our experimental coral plates remain healthy. Cleaning is performed every 3 days to prevent the accumulation of algae on the plates and in the aquarium.

  • KH01 (Acropora digitifera, A.millepora, Galaxea fascicularis) – growing steadily; the fragments of A. millepora continue to fuse. The Galaxea fragments added in November remain healthy and are continuing to encrust and expand on the plate.
  • KH02 (Galaxea fascicularis) – making a steady recovery. Weekly rotation of the plate is performed to ensure all fragments receive enough light, and we continue to take weekly monitoring photos to monitor recovery.
  • KH03 (Acropora valida) – 2 of the 8 older fragments lost tissue and died; the 16 newer fragments are healthy, gradually calcifying and encrusting.
  • KH04 (replenished December, digitifera, A. millepora) – continuing to grow steadily and encrust on the plate; 2 fragments show tissue loss and algal growth
  • KH05 (Galaxea fascicularis) – – healthy and growing steadily; some encrusting and fusing together. We added new fragments to the lower parts of the plate.
  • HK06 (Galaxea fascicularis, new Feb-21) – all 14 fragments are encrusting on the plate. We are photographing weekly to closely monitor the encrusting process.