A curious Giant moray eel and Indian redfin butterflyfish, cautiously watching as I clean the corals. Our frames create shelter for many creatures!
Hello! This is Alejandra, writing to you from the beautiful island resort of Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. 🙂
I am the Reefscapers coral biologist at the Marine Discovery Centre, and I would like to continue to share my experiences and work activities during the last few weeks (following on from part one).
We are currently working on arranging and retransplanting one of our coral propagation sites with new corals. The aim is to rearrange and organise the site to make it easier for us to identify and monitor each frame, and also to make it look more beautiful! This requires many trips to the lagoon and lots of patience, as there is a lot of work that must be done. So far, we have made a new map of the locations of all 600+ frames.
We have been printing new tags when required, and removed several older frames from the water that had died (to be cleaned, reused and retransplanted).
I have also been making many new frames with guests this month. People who visit the Resort often become interested in adopting a new coral frame, to help enhance the health and productivity of the marine ecosystem. Our reef regeneration is successful in creating homes for thousands of sea creatures, and supporting 25% of the life in the ocean that depends on coral reefs. The occasional visitor often takes me by surprise while doing my job!
Colourful coral colonies of the species Acropora digitifera on one of our frames.
When a frame is sponsored, we harvest new coral fragments from our donor frames. These fragments are only a few centimetres long and quite fragile, so taking good care of them is vital for the coral frame to grow and flourish in the future. The harvested fragments need to be kept submerged, and later stored in circulating water in shaded tanks (to reduce stresses from light and heat).
When transplanting onto the frame, the fragments are spaced out by 15cm, to give ample room for growth into mature colonies. When the transplantation work is complete, the frame takes a plunge back into the lagoon. Once at the permanent site, we take photos of the frames to send to their proud owners. A massive thanks to all the kind sponsors who make this possible!
A newly built frame settles into a new underwater home.
A newly transplanted coral fragment, yet to fuse to the frame.
Species diversity is key to any ecosystem.