On January 31, 2015, Dr. Craig Dahlgren, Felicity Burrows (Atlantis Blue Project Coordinator), staff members at Dolphin Cay and volunteers began its first step in establishing a coral nursery near Dolphin Cay by cleaning the salt water pool where the coral nursery is to be placed. This process involved removing excess algae and trash from areas on the nets surrounding the pool that have restricted current flow from the outer channel into the salt pool. Because of the significant algal growth on the nets, this process will be continued over the next 4 weeks to ensure that the bulk of the algae has been removed and current flow is restored. Additionally the team will be able to assess the conditions of the salt pool following the clean up to see how quickly the algae accumulates to help determine how often the pool have to be cleaned . Once this process has been completed, the team will begin the next step in assembling coral nursery structures (also called coral propagation units) and installing them within the pool…..
Why is this coral nursery being established? To allow coral fragments that have broken off of large wild coral colonies and, have fallen to the seafloor yet still alive, a chance to survive. Once the fragments have grown to a considerable size (approximately 75cm or greater) within a year to 18 months, they are then outplanted to potential restoration sites to help rebuild coral cover.
Stay tuned to learn more about this effort!