Reefscapers coral rescue pyramids

Coral rescue pyramids, Kuda Huraa

Coral Propagation – Monthly Progress

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At Kuda Huraa during November, we transplanted 20 new coral frames, and monitored a further 155 mature frames at various sites around the island. In addition, we retransplanted 10 degraded frames, and removed nine old frames for recoating and recycling.

At Landaa this month, we transplanted 24 coral frames, kindly sponsored by guests (nine), online (one), and the Resort (14), adding a total of 1138 coral fragments to the reef. We monitored (cleaned, repaired, photographed) a total of 139 established coral frames at various sites around the island. We have also been lifting 12 buried frames out of the seasonally shifting sands, replacing a total of 900 dead fragments.

Parrot Reef Relocation – This month, two Parrot Reef dives were undertaken, and 900 fragments were recycled in the untagged patch.

Soft Coral Propagation

This month, we started for the first time to experiment with the propagation of soft corals onto our frames, to introduce more species diversity and to create a new garden of soft corals.

We collected small fragments of Sarcophyton species from 1m depths around the House Reef’s Sea Star site. These fragments were then cut and secured to rubble substrate with simple elastic bands. We divided the fragments into two groups and continue to monitor health and growth.

  • Half the fragments were directly outplanted onto our frames – many of the fragments became loose and were lost. Five fragments successfully attached, and appear to be doing well.
  • Half the fragments were acclimatised in our aquarium – all but the smallest fragments successfully secured themselves to the rubble after 10 days, and we were able to remove the elastic band. We plan to outplant each ‘fragment + rubble’ onto our frames.

AI Program – Coral Growth Analysis

This month, we used our inhouse Artificial Intelligence software to analyse the latest monitoring photographs in our database. We plotted the growth rates (volume) of species of Pocillopora and Acropora corals transplanted onto all our small-sized frames at both Landaa Giraavaru and Kuda Huraa.

  • During 2023 alone, volumes of Acropora corals increased from 4000 to 9000+ litres, and Pocillopora volume increased from 9000 to 15000+ litres.
  • From this data, we also analysed the successful survivorship of corals (2017-2023), revealing survival rates of 80% in Pocillopora and 88% in Acropora
  • Pocillopora – highest growth rates were found at shallow Landaa sites with strong wave action: Coral Trail, Parrot Reef, The Turtle, Water Villas, Blu.
  • Acropora – highest growth rates at Landaa’s reef-slope sites: Dive, Blu Deep, Anchor Point.