The coral propagators

By Guido Trombetta on 11:23 AM , ,


Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Today I would like to speak about REEFSCAPERS which is a very interesting project currently developing in Maldives thanks mainly to two french guys Thomas Le Berre and Cedric Guignard.
Cedric sent me some really nice pictures to explain me what this is all about and now I'm going to try to eplain to you the amazing job of the Coral Growers or Coral Propagators or Reef Creators or whatever you would like to call them!


Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

To tell it simple REEFSCAPERS deal with the propagation of corals a project that has a lot of possible environmental and economic benefits for
  • Resorts, by aesthetic increase and marketing
  • Researcher, by notably increasing the experiments opportunities
  • Guests, by education, awareness and sponsoring
  • Locals, by providing alternative localized livelihood to fishing
  • The Coral Reef, by restoring or creating new habitat supporting the closely associated marine life.

However Coral Propagation is a very controversial subject as a result of little success of too many projects, nevertheless REEFSCAPERS apply a recently developed coral propagation technique that has been significantly succesful.

So let's start from the results looking at the following amazing sequences. What you are going to see are photo-sequences realized during a time span of some months in which you can easily see the spectacular growth of the corals.


ACROPORA SAMOENSIS

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

ACROPORA PULCHRA

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

ACROPORA SELAGO

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

ACHROPORA PULCHRA

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Amazing... isn't it?
Let's go into more depth about the coral propagation technique used by REEFSCAPERS:
In the Maldives, Reefscapers developed a new versatile artificial reef system, the “Coral Trays”. Broken or threatened corals are harvested from the donor areas, usually threatened by coastal developments and fragments prepared before being attached on the Coral Trays. These new structures prevent predation and sedimentation, and promote survival and growth. Their light weight enables an easy deployment using a simple whaler as well as to change their location at will. This could be useful in case of prolonged high sea surface temperatures events. The shapes and sizes of the structures mostly depends on the objectives and different designs and transplantation processes have been adapted to the species present in the Maldives. Transplantation is done by snorkelling or diving depending on the depth. After 6 to 12 months, the newly established reef is able to produce the fragments for further generations of transplants. After about a year, the growth enables the pruning of 3 to 10 times the initial stock. The reef created is thereafter self sustainable. In most environments, the Coral trays substratum efficiency insures an essential survival enabling significant coral propagation as well as small and large scale research.
These are the famous "Coral Trays" ready to be installed on the sea bed and became the substrate and support of the new coral colony:

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

The Coral Trays are prepared before the installation:

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

and then it's the time to "transplant" the corals directly upon the tray:

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Now it's a matter of time and the Coral will progressively build up a reef gathering all the species that live in this kind of habitat. In the following pictures you can see various stages of development:

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard

I hope to have introduced to you the amazing activity that REEFSCAPERS is carrying on.
Obviously this is just a very small portrait of a much wider reality. REEFSCAPERS is a project aimed to involve scientific research as well as tourism and environmental activity just to tell some aspects.
If you're interested in the REEFSCAPERS project, in their philosophy and businesses and want to have more info the better thing you can do is to visit their nice website:

REEFSCAPERS website

Moreover their website is also a wonderful source of amazing pictures as you may imagine from people that works in Maldivian Sea. You will find nice pictures of growing corals but also great shots of the reef fauna from colorful fishes to the sea turtles.
I fell in love with the following picture, it's just perfect for this blog...:

Photo courtesy of Cedric Guignard