Reefscapers coral fragments new (right) and encrusted (left)

Reefscapers coral fragments – encrusted (left); newly transplanted (right).

Coral Propagation – Monthly Progress

At Landaa during April, we monitored a total of 343 coral frames around the island, and transplanted 24 new frames (9 sponsored by guests, 15 by the Resort).

At Kuda Huraa, we transplanted 4 new coral frames, recycled 5 of our older frames, and monitored a total of 185 existing frames (mainly at the Water Villas site). We spotted (and removed) several Crown of Thorns starfish (COTs) eating our corals, and we relocated a total of 102 frames to protect them from shifting sands and increased sedimentation.

Corals at the House Reef site and the deep Blue Hole refuge (rescued Gulhi Falhu corals) are healthy and remain unaffected by  sand sedimentation and the seasonally elevated ocean temperatures.

Microfragmenting Trial – Studying Surface Area Growth Rates

During April, we started a new experiment to build on our micro-fragmenting coral propagation techniques explored in 2019-2020.

Experiments using “massive” coral species are often overlooked due to their slow growth rates, so this is an important area for us to explore, given their apparent resilience to warmer temperatures.

Read more: Micro-fragment Techniques in Coral Propagation.

Coral bleaching Maldives alerts NOAA

Bleaching Alerts – The NOAA coral bleaching alerts system categorises Maldives in “Watch” status for April-May, rising to “Warning” for June. Currently, we have not observed any coral bleaching on the natural reef or our coral frames.

Reefscapers coral fragments recovering from bleaching and starting to encrust

Coral fragments recovering from initial bleaching (due to stress) and starting to encrust

Temperature Loggers

We retrieved our temperature loggers from Kuda Huraa’s lagoon (at the Water Villas, Channel, and Sea Star sites) and plotted the data to visualise the seasonal increases in ocean temperatures. The maximum recorded temperatures peaked during the first week of April at the Water Villas site.

Ocean temperatures at 4 sites April 2021 Maldives

Ocean temperatures for the month of April 2021, at 4 different sites around the lagoon at Kuda Huraa

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

Our coral plates in both aquaria remain healthy, and we continue to perform weekly cleaning (Aquarium Two suffers more from algal growth). Most of the coral fragments in Aquarium One have an obvious growth direction towards the light source, so we are regularly rotating the affected plates.

  • KH01 (Acropora digitifera, millepora, Galaxea fascicularis) – continues to grow steadily. The fragments of A. millepora continue to fuse, and the Galaxea (added in November) remain healthy.
  • KH02 (Galaxea fascicularis) – healthy and growing.
  • KH03 (Acropora valida) – 4 dead fragments overgrown with algae; 2 fragments with partial bleaching.
  • KH04 (replenished December, digitifera, A. millepora) – 8 dead fragments overgrown with algae at the bottom of the pate.
  • KH05 (Galaxea fascicularis) – growing steadily, especially the upper fragments (more light).
  • HK06 (Galaxea fascicularis, new Feb-21) – continuing to grow well, with encrusted teeth.
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