One of our Conservation projects is to assist in the creation of artificial reef structures which provide a suitable base/substrate for coral fragments to adhere and eventually develop into a thriving colony.
Reef conservation are working with Save Koh Tao, and a number of other dive schools and organisation, notably the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program, which has been one of the leading groups of committed diving professionals working towards reducing many of Koh Tao’s underwater difficulties.
One of the more common methods for creating an artificial reef is to collect fragments of broken or dying coral from the sea-floor or clip healthy growing ‘buds’ or ‘tips’ from existing coral colonies. It is important to make note of the depth where the fragment was collected to ensure it is ‘planted’ at the same depth, thus reducing stress.
The coral fragment is then adhered to the coral nursery structure using an underwater adhesive, or by tying it with twine or filament.
There are a number of different structures available suiting different environments and conditions. Currently, Reef conservation are working on Bottle Reefs and Propagation Table type structures. Click here to see our Bottle Reef project or our Table Nursery project
The coral fragments are now left in situ for a time anywhere from 8 months up to 2 years for the fragment to recover, stabilise and eventually begin to develop and grow. During this period, the team returns regularly to the nursery site to check on the development and remove any algae overgrowth, which may be developing on the structures.
Once the coral fragments are healthy and are ready to be replanted, they are carefully removed from the artificial reef structure and ‘re-planted’ into either new, more permanent artificial structures or implanted directly into existing reef areas which have lost much of their coral colonies