Fish Lab & Aquaria – Marine Life in the Maldives

Small Aquarium One

  • The stressed corals have started to regain their colouration, following the warmer ocean temperatures.
  • Mini coral frame – healthy, although crabs continue to remove corals and there are now five missing (or dead) coral fragments.
  • Maldivian clownfish (Amphiprion nigripes) breeding pair – we observed erratic swimming behaviour in one fish, possibly a symptom of disease. The fish was quarantined and given a 10-second freshwater shower, but sadly died several days later (the other inhabitants remain healthy, but we treated the tank with water conditioner as a precautionary measure).
  • New specimens were added, including a Sea Hare (Stylocheilus striatus), Crab (Trapezia) and Peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) [photo].
Aquarium Peacock mantis shrimp Odontodactylus scyllarus
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Marine Savers Maldives underwater life octopus

Octopus resting on the reef

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Small Aquarium Two

  • After regaining colour at the beginning of the month, the Goniopora coral colony now continues to be very pale, and appears to be colonised by encrusting polychaetes (worms).
  • Mini coral frame – resident crabs detached two fragments, so these were promptly reattached. There are four dead/missing fragments, but the older fragments continue to look healthy and encrust steadily.
  • Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkia) breeding pair – no eggs were observed this month, despite characteristic “cleaning” behaviour often seen before laying.

Linckia multifora sea stars

  • SS3 – healthy, but no size increases this month.
  • SS4 – scarred, due to from predation from resident crabs.

Plankton Production

  • Rotifers – production continues, and we are maintaining good quality and a steady population size.
  • Artemia – production increased to 4g/day, to provide feed for our jellyfish, polyps, basslets, pipefish, and the main aquarium.
  • Algae – production remains consistent and steady.

Zooplankton Study

We have a new Lab-made net (photo), to gain practise and refine methodology before the remainder of our equipment arrives (nets and pipettes). Thanks to our resort colleagues for all their invaluable help, including Engineering (custom metal ring) and Laundry (stitching).

During collection, we will experiment with different duration/speed/distance, to ensure a large enough sample without bursting the fine netting (150µm). We will practice using our Lab-made motodo splitter, and try sub-sampling with spring-loaded pipettes. We will also be practising: separation, rinsing and dehydration, storage (in formalin), and most importantly, actually identifying the zooplankton samples.

Many thanks to our overseas mentors at: MBA [UK] (Dave Conway), and CSIRO [AUS] (Dr Anthony Richardson and Frank Coman).

Fish Lab hand made 150µm plankton net

Our Lab-made plankton collection net (150µm)

Jellyfish – Aurelia aurita

We have attached a 750µm mesh to the inside of the skimming grate of the main cylinder, enabling us to:

  • reduce the requirement of regular water changes,
  • observe any effects on development of the jellies,
  • fill the display tank with smaller jelly specimens.

The large jellyfish specimen (Pelagia noctiluca) we recently introduced from the lagoon was released again after deteriorating in health, as observed by:

  • decreased colour density – we think the Artemia food may not have provided the necessary nutrition,
  • bell quality – the symbiotic trevally failed to acclimatise (often hiding in the bell, causing mechanical damage).
Strobilation is defined as asexual reproduction by transverse division of the body segments which develop into separate individuals.

REEFSCAPERS Coral Propagation & Reef Regeneration in the Maldives

Reefscapers CoralWatch bleaching evolution of A.digitifera, Maldives

Reefscapers CoralWatch survey – Acropora digitifera corals, bleaching & recovering over time (survey results and more photos, June)

Monthly Progress

June was a busy month! A big THANK YOU to our resort colleagues for all their invaluable assistance in our reef regeneration efforts.
At Landaa, we:
– transplanted 56 new coral frames (using 4,000+ individual coral fragments);
– retransplanted 37 existing frames (3,000+ fragments);
– recycled 20 frames (700+ fragments);
– monitored 380 frames at various sites around the island;
– continued our ‘Coral Bleaching’ and ‘Coral Cooling’ experiments.

At Kuda Hura, we:
– re-/transplanted 10 coral frames;
– relocated (and cleaned) 400 frames;
To monitor for coral bleaching and recovery, we also performed a large Coral Watch survey. From mid-May through June, we performed 11 surveys on 174 coral colonies from 68 frames, producing a total of 1200 photographs for analysis.

Check out our Reefscapers Diaries page for further details, and photographs of our CoralWatch work in Maldives.

Sea Turtle Rescue & Conservation

Cancri rescue turtle rehabilitation centre Maldives

On 16 June, we released Cancri back into the ocean, to mark the global World Sea Turtle Day for 2021.

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

At the close of June, we were caring for 8 Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and 1 Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) in our Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa. At Kuda Huraa, our turtle patients include 2 rescued Olive Ridleys, plus our rehabilitating hatchlings: 4 Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and 7 Hawksbills.
On 16 June, we released Cancri back into the ocean, to mark the global World Sea Turtle Day for 2021.

Maldivian Sea Turtle Identification Program

During June, we received 6 submissions from the public to our Sea Turtle ID project. Our current database catalogues 5,000+ photographic sightings, and to date has positively identified and named a total of: 1306 Hawksbills, 274 Greens and 98 Olive Ridleys.

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

Turtle ID Maldives photo submissions Hawksbill male

Our Unreleasable Turtle Residents

Our Current Turtle Patients

Our Juvenile Turtle Patients

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