Marine Savers education and awareness Maldives

Fish Lab & Aquaria – Marine Life in the Maldives

In our Fish Lab this month, we relocated our families of shrimp and added a new juvenile yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) to Tank #34. In the main display aquarium, we sadly lost our giant clam after it was stung by the anemone. The clam shell and anemone were both removed from the main tank and replaced with a mini coral frame that was planted with a range of coral species including foliose Montipora and branching Acropora.

Plankton Production

Algae – culture is consistently cycling
Artemia – production is keeping up with the demand of the main tank at 4.5g of cysts a day. We increased our adult Artemia to supply food for our newest arrival, Britney the Boxfish
Rotifers – volume saw a small drop but recovered quickly

Jellyfish – Aurelia aurita

The population of jellyfish in the main tank is stable. We started a new batch of jellyfish, producing 432 ephyra for growing-out.

Megafauna and Marine Life in the Maldives

At Landaa, our Marine Discovery Immersion Tour was enjoyed by 38 visitors during September. We also confirmed a total of 177 bookings for 33 excursions guided by our team members, with the most popular activities being the Dolphin Cruise followed by the Guided Adventure Snorkel.

At Kuda Huraa, 244 bookings were taken for a total of 32 guided marine excursions, including the Dolphin Cruise and numerous adventure snorkel trips. From our turtle sightings data collated over the past several years, we can see that populations of hawksbill sea turtles seems to be slowly declining. Hawksbill sightings are also seasonal, as the turtles seem to prefer calmer reefs during the monsoon season and then return to their original feeding grounds.

Amidst the manta season, our dives have recorded 37 individuals at local cleaning stations this month, as well as a large squadron of circling mobula rays, and an incredible display of 100 grey reef sharks cruising along the reef wall. Other notable megafauna sightings included 30 tawny nurse sharks (Nebrius ferrugineus) and 30+ pink whiptail rays (Pateobatis fai).

Fish Lab Food chain

Seaweed Mariculture – edible sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca)

Despite our best efforts, the second round of sea lettuce trials has been unsuccessful. Our new third batch is split into separate tanks:
– chilled to a lower temperature, with live rock as a substrate, low aeration, added fertiliser, low volume water changes
– normal temperature, using rope and tiles as substrate
– across various tanks with live rock substrate, low flow, no aeration, fertilised by the nitrates produced by the tank residents

Reefscapers mariculture Maldives starter Ulva lactuca
Reefscapers mariculture Maldives starter Ulva lactuca
Reefscapers mariculture Maldives starter Ulva lactuca

Education & Local Outreach

Two groups of year-10 students from Brightway International School visited our Centre at Kuda Huraa to learn about sustainability initiatives and marine conservation. Discussions are underway to accept student interns to gain valuable hands-on experience, and we have also been invited to appear as occasional guest lecturers at the school.

Baa Schools Outreach

This month saw our turtle team collaborate with the Baa Atoll Council and Biosphere Reserve to tour every school in Baa Atoll over five days. We gave our presentations primarily to Grades 9-10, plus some younger classes at the smaller schools. This covered basic turtle biology and conservation, with extra focus on our satellite tracking program due to the release of Noonu on 21 October. We also distributed posters and leaflets to schools and around the islands, providing information on what to do if an entangled or injured turtle is found.

To involve as many local students as possible, we are running a competition to see which class can make the most accurate guess concerning how far Noonu will swim, with a prize of coming to visit our Marine Discovery Centre at Landaa.

Many students seemed extremely interested in our marine biology internship program at Landaa, that started in May 2023 in conjunction with Four Seasons, Baa Council, and the Biosphere Reserve. We hope to receive many responses to our pre-assessment form that will be sent out to schools in the coming months.

Marine Savers education class Maldives
Marine Savers education class Maldives
Marine Savers education class Maldives
Marine Savers education class Maldives

Ornamental Fish & Shrimp Breeding

Ornamental Fish & Shrimp Breeding

Sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) – Our F3 larvae from last month are almost ready to be transferred to the settlement bucket. As with our other captive bred generations, the average survival rate of these larvae has improved from their parents. We also collected another clutch of F3 larvae, plus a clutch of F2, totalling 327 larvae this month

Blue damelfish (Pomacentrus pavo) – last month’s clutch successfully hatched. In the past we have stalled by Day-3, but by introducing copepods into the feed we reached Day-11. Another clutch was collected and is set to hatch soon

Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii) – the two surviving Clark’s larvae have now completed metamorphosis and are growing nicely as juvenile fish. On 15 September, we collected another clutch of 58 Clark’s larvae and moved them to a rearing tank; five have now reached pre-metamorphosis (Day-14) with signs of colouration and caudal fin development

Fish Lab Shrimp breeding cycle

Maldives Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation

Wild green turtle on the reef Maldives
Wild Hawksbill turtle ID project Maldives (Mark Benzies)
Monthly Updates

At the close of September, we were caring for 4 Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea), 2 Hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata), and zero Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in our Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa – see Our Current Turtle Patients.

Ocean Enclosure

Our sea turtle rehabilitation enclosure in Landaa’s lagoon remains unoccupied, as we await new shade covers. We have also been repairing damage to the netting wall and the supporting structural ropes, caused by recent stormy weather.

Maldivian Sea Turtle Identification Program

During September, we received 21 new photo sets submitted by the public. Currently, our database contains uniquely identified totals of: 1467 Hawksbills, 315 Greens and 97 Olive Ridleys (from 5500+ separate sightings taken across the Maldivian atolls).

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 - unique facial scales

REEFSCAPERS Coral Propagation & Reef Restoration in the Maldives

Reefscapers coral frames and shark
Reefscapers coral frames Maldives

Monthly Update Summary

At Kuda Huraa during September, we transplanted three new frames, kindly sponsored by guests. In addition, we monitored and repaired 84 frames, recycled 50+ old frames, and retagged 30+ frames. We also moved 110 frames at the Water Villas site to create four new geometric patterns.

At Landaa this month, we transplanted 23 coral frames, kindly sponsored by guests (eight), online (four), and the Resort (eleven), adding a total of 1045 coral fragments to the reef. We also monitored (cleaned, repaired, photographed) a total of 646 coral frames, and lifted 20 buried frames out of the seasonally shifting sands; this recycled 300 fragments on degraded frames, plus a further 395 fragments at Parrot Reef. We have also been continuing our long-term project to restore and remap the Blue Hole site.

Junior Marine Savers activities

Further News & Updates

You might also be interested in:
– our ongoing Dolphin ID Project, our specialised Sea Turtle Lagoon Enclosure, and our Zooplankton Monitoring Project.

Looking for details of our Reefscapers coral propagation and reef restoration program ? Then head over to our Reefscapers Diaries for all the latest updates.

You can sponsor your own frame and see photographs (updated every 6 months) in our Coral Frame Collection.

Junior Marine Savers activities: (1) Reefscapers corals, (2) turtle care.

Junior Marine Savers children turtle care Maldives