On July 15th, 2017, Perry Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) travelled to Marsh Harbour, Abaco in The Bahamas and successfully established a coral nursery in the Fowl Cays National Park.
With Friends of the Environment’s Frank Kenyon Centre as their home base, Dr. Craig Dahlgren, Managing Director for PIMS, and the summer intern, Alannah Vellacott, constructed, deployed and populated four coral trees to start off the Fowl Cays coral nursery. Though all the groundwork had been laid out, the trees constructed, the collection site of the staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) and the site of the nursery identified, Bahamian summer thunderstorms posed a challenge for the team and getting to the cays to dive proved to be difficult.
Troy Albury, Master Diver and Owner of Dive Guana in Great Guana Cay, Abaco, graciously joined the expedition and provided a local’s insight and 20 years of experience in diving around the Abacos to the team. As soon as the weather lifted, PIMS and Albury sailed to the Fowl Cays National Park to choose a suitable location and raced against the setting sun to install the PVC coral trees and populate them with coral cuttings. The operation was a success and 200 coral cuttings now grow in the nursery, which is being maintained by our local partner, Dive Guana.
Establishing coral nurseries helps to replenish wild populations of corals by growing them from fragments to later transport and place them on coral reefs to bolster their population and ultimately rehabilitate affected reefs. Having coral nurseries in different locations throughout The Bahamas provides nearby reefs with their own ‘bank’ of corals to pull from for rehabilitation.
A special thank you to Disney Conservation Fund, Friends of the Environment, The Kris Colvin Trust, the Bahamas National Trust and Dive Guana for their support in this project. Check back in November for an update on this project and other coral nurseries on Abaco.