Coral Restoration Updates: Autumn 2019
October 15, 2019
In 2018, researchers installed a pilot project using 3D elevated dome structures. After 18 months, the corals affixed to the dome structures demonstrated dramatically higher survival rates (80%) than traditionally outplanted corals (as low as 9%). It is thought that by elevating coral outplants from the substrate we are reducing the impact of competition and predators, creating a more successful outcome for growth and survival. Results from this pilot study are currently being analysed and written up. Further outplanting will take place this autumn when sea temperature drop as conditions will be less stressful for the coral. Read the full submitted abstract.
The study of a disease in the nursery which presents as white band disease has given us the opportunity to be able to map its progression. Surprisingly, in August, many diseased corals began to display recovery and regrowth. Through this project we have identified genotypes which show a higher resilience to the disease and which genotypes were able to recovery. This project was recently submitted as an oral presentation to the International Coral Reef Symposium 2020. Read the full submitted abstract.
At the end of July, water temperatures in our shallow nursery reached the established bleaching threshold. Some colonies are showing resistance to the bleaching, allowing us to identify corals which may be more resilient to heat stress.
In August, CCMI scientists collected evidence of spawning by both healthy and diseased corals in our deep nursery. It has previously been though that once a coral is diseased it will not spawn as it will reabsorb its eggs, making this an important observation which will contribute to further study.
CCMI’s coral restoration work is supported by the AALL Foundation, the Art & Phyllis Grindle Foundation, Consolidated Water (Cayman Water), Dart, the Dart Foundation, the Disney Conservation Fund, the Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust, and an anonymous donor.