Hurawalhi’s resident marine biologists and Manta Trust researchers Lynn and Tiff are the kind of team members that we wish every Maldives’ resort had! In addition to running the island’s Marine Biology Centre, taking guests on excursions, raising awareness with various activities and ensuring local community outreach too, they have now taken on the challenge to set up a coral nursery to further improve Hurawalhi’s coral reefs.
But what does actually a coral gardener’s work involve?
Lynn and Tiff collected coral fragments from around the 5.8 Underwater Restaurant (mainly Pocillopora verrucosa, Pocillopora damicornis, Pocillopora meandrina, Acropora cerealis, and Stylophora pistillata, which are coral species known for their fast growth and their high resilience). They took the fragments out onto the beach and started with the fragmentation. Each bigger fragment was split up into roughly 2-5cm large pieces. Each coral fragment was measured and photographed for the database.
The fragments were then put into nylon ropes by simply untwisting the rope, placing the fragment between the strings, and twisting it back together. Each fragment has a certain number, which will make documentation on their growth rate easier. Once all 100 fragments were attached on the ropes, we took them down to attach them to our coral frame. The frame sits at around 7-8 meters depth.
Lynn and Tiff will maintain and clean the coral lines on a regular basis and measure each fragment every three months to record growth.
We hope for the coral nursery project to be successful and aid in accelerating coral growth once planted to harmed areas of the reef.