a mini-ecosystem

Principal Investigators

Claire Lager
Mary Hagedorn

Associated investigators

Nikolas Zuchowicz
Michael Henley
Research duration
till
Lead institutions
Smithsonian Institution

Coral reefs are degrading at an unprecedented rate and are threatened globally by pollution, overfishing and rising temperatures. This global crisis is capable of generating the global loss of corals and the entire coral ecosystem in a few generations. The corals of French Polynesia are also subject to these threats. Thus, in order to help coral reefs to regenerate, we propose to create coral nurseries in the lagoon of Moorea, which would be a refuge where the coral could grow and develop free from certain threats. An international team of collaborators (CRIOBE, Smithsonian and the Coral Restoration Foundation) will determine which areas could be optimal to grow the corals under the best conditions. The goal of these nurseries is to store a large quantity and diversity of Polynesian corals in order to be able to respond to any need for restoration of coral reefs but also to educate, involve and train local actors in restoration techniques. coral reefs. Our objectives will be: 1) Establishment of coral nurseries and monitoring the growth and survival of adult coral fragments compared to "mother" colonies on the reef; 2) Determine how to efficiently produce (qualitatively and quantitatively) juveniles of corals after laying eggs until adult stage by growing them in a nursery, and 3) Involve and train young Polynesians and local actors in coral reef restoration techniques. .

The coral tree (invented by the Coral Restoration Foundation) is a simple PVC pipe structure. The nursery tree is anchored at the bottom of the ocean and is supported with submerged floats. The coral fragments are attached to the branches of the tree with fishing line. The tree floats in the water column and is able to withstand the force of waves and current.