Our artificial reefs provide habitats for myriads of fish and invertebrates, increasing marine biodiversity
Coral Propagation – Monthly Progress
At Landaa during January, we transplanted 20 new coral frames (11 Resort-sponsored, nine guest-sponsored) and monitored (cleaned, repaired, photographed) 266 existing frames. We used 1164 individual coral fragments for our new frames, plus 2130 fragments for repairs and recycling work, totalling 3294 fragments for the month.
- Yin Yang site – we relocated all 31 frames to the Moon site, repairing and retransplanting as we went along.
- Moon site – retagged, repaired and recycled 37 old frames.
- Bissie’s Reef on the Coral Trail – repaired and recycled all 15 coral frames (at 10-12m depth).
At Kuda Huraa during January, we transplanted two new frames and three recycled frames, using a total of 270 coral fragments harvested from seven different Acropora species.
We also relocated 249 coral frames from the Water Villas site to the House Reef and monitored/mapped them at the new location.
- Water Villas (WV) – from 8 to 10 January, we organised a mass frame relocation operation due to the increasing problem of the seasonally shifting sands. Due to the maturity, health, and weight of the coral frames, we required five to seven people for each session.
Thanks to all our Resort colleagues who volunteered from every department.
The frames were raised with buoyant canisters, transported in the whaler (four to 12 frames per trip) and relocated close to the Sea Star site. We worked for a total of 17 hours to relocate 249 fully grown coral frames of different shapes and sizes.
Currently, 148 healthy frames remain at the Water Villas site, and are regularly monitored for health and encroaching sand.
- Sea Star (SS) – the newly relocated frames were arranged, mapped, and monitored, and are in very good health overall, thanks to our rapid and efficient relocation work.
The broken fragments were carefully collected, used to retransplant the starfish shape.
- House Reef (HR) – the five new frames were deployed here, although we have started to observe some mortality due to the seasonally shifting sands.
- Channel (CH) – the frame layout was simplified at the end of 2021, streamlining our mapping and monitoring work, and enhancing the snorkelling experience for Resort guests.
- Blue Hole (BH) – frames remain healthy, and we continue to remove any accumulated marine debris that settles at this deep site.
Coral Spawning Database
Our new coral spawning database was created and shared among the team, to document our observations of gametes throughout the year. We will use standardised methods to collect observational information, including consistent categorisation of egg colouration (white, pale, pigmented).
We have also started work on a research paper and plan to submit for publication later in the year (after the March/April spawning event).
During January at Landaa, we observed white eggs in three species of both wild and frame colonies (A. nasuta, A. digitifera, A. millepora) and one frame colony with pigmented A. valida eggs.
- 22 January – white eggs in Acropora digitifera on a Water Villas frame at Kuda Huraa.
- 27 January – white eggs in Acropora nasuta (frame KH2444) and A. digitifera (KH2555), Kuda Huraa.
Coral Bleaching Watch
As we enter the seasonally warmer part of the year here in the Maldives (January to April), it is important to keep track of NOAA’s coral bleaching watch guidelines.
We are currently at ‘No Stress’ status, moving to ‘Coral Bleach Watch’ in the upcoming weeks.
We will regularly review the NOAA forecasts, and monitor our coral frames and the natural reefs for any signs of coral paling and possible bleaching.
Coral Plates in Aquarium One (plates KH01, KH02, KH05) and Aquarium Two (plates KH03, KH04, KH06)
• KH01 (Galaxea fascicularis; Acropora species) – since September, the fragments continue to grow. New fragments were added due to removal by resident crabs.
• KH02 (G. fascicularis) – most fragments are healthy and growing. The plate was rotated twice this month.
• KH03 (Acropora species, replenished Oct-Dec 2021) – fragments continue to grow apically, and are encrusting well.
• KH04 (Acropora species, mushroom coral; replenished Oct-Nov 2021) – overall healthy, with increased growth.
• KH05 (G.fascicularis) – steady health; cyanobacterial growth is regularly removed.
• KH06 (G.fascicularis) – healthy, fusing and growing.