MASS CORAL LARVAL RESEEDING IS A VIABLE OPTION FOR ENHANCING RECRUITMENT AND RESTORING DEGRADED REEFS
Restoring degraded ecosystems is essential for mitigating the effects of anthropogenic impacts and for maintaining biological diversity to ensure the continuous flow of ecosystem goods and services. For coral reefs, innovative restoration technologies aimed at larger scale interventions are considered to be one of the primary potential solutions to the rapid and increasing global problem of reef degradation. This study used low-cost mass larval settlement enclosures to significantly increase coral recruitment on degraded coral reef areas in northwestern Philippines. Acropora tenuis larvae were cultured ex-situ after colonies spawned, and approximately 400,000 competent larvae were transported and retained in each of four replicate 6 x 4 m reef 'reseeded' plots. Four adjacent 6 x 4 m plots were used as non-seeded control plots for comparison. Immediately after the settlement period, recruitment on tiles in the reseeded plots was very significantly higher (mean 27 ± 13 spat per tile) than in control plots, in which no single recruit was record. There was no recorded mortality of seeded A. tenuis juvenile corals on the natural reef substrata or on tiles during subsequent monitoring up to 24 mo. After 2 years, a mean of 24 ± 12.4 A. tenuis coral colonies, with ecological volume of 938 ± 288 cm-3, survived on the reef substrata within reseeded plots and no A. tenuis corals in control plots. The results show that mass coral larval 'reseeding' is an effective method for quickly enhancing larval settlement and stimulating recruitment on degraded but recoverable reef areas, and can rapidly initiate new coral populations.
dela Cruz, D. W., Marine Ecology Research Centre, Southern Cross University, Australia, email@example.com
Villanueva, R. D., The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Philippines, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harrison, P. L., Marine Ecology Research Centre, Southern Cross University, Australia, email@example.com
Location: 301 B
Presentation is given by student: Yes