As a freshly graduated and passionate marine biologist, being offered an opportunity to volunteer with Nature Seychelles is my first step to building a career in coral reef restoration. As a volunteer, I’m gaining lots of experience in different aspects of reef restoration, from working on the nursery to monitoring the resilience of the reef. My favourite aspect of this role has to be the batfish!
Nature Seychelles uses the coral gardening method to restore coral reefs affected by bleaching. Jake Letori, one of our Reef Rescuers volunteers illustrates the last stage of the method in this video to demonstrate the coral restoration process happening on Felicite Island, Seychelles:
Acroporid and pocilloporid colonies have been growing in a mid-water nursery for the past 12-months. My role was to help move these corals from the nursery and onto the reef. Here’s what you need to do.
[Step 1] Find a suitable space for a coral colony, preferably away from other corals. Make sure the position is a good fit, not easily dislodged by a hungry fish and secure enough to withstand wave and tidal movements.
[Step 2] Once in place you need to scrub. Scrubbing the reef surface will remove any algae and encrusting organisms that could slow coral growth and prevent you from cementing the coral.
[Step 3] Transplant your coral. We use the piping technique, maneuvering around the coral and cementing points of contact between coral and reef substrate.
Video: @j_letori on Instagram
One of the tasks that Nature Seychelles' Reef Rescuers have to carry out regularly is cleaning the underwater nursery ropes of Algae and other biofouling organisms. This is a formidable task that takes a lot of time because it involves cleaning of thousands of corals hanging underwater in rope nurseries.