Artificial Reef Project Koh Tao

Reef-building corals play an essential role in providing habitats to other marine organisms that are found living in tropical ecosystems. Their complex 3D tertiary structures offer suitable homes for a diverse range of creatures of all sizes. Corals also provide an important food source to several organisms that feed on their polyps or the mucus that they secrete, not to mention the coastal protection they provide for island communities and their value in the ecotourism industry. These reef builders are essential components required for reef ecosystems to thrive and play an extremely important role in promoting species richness and biodiversity on all coral reefs across the globe. 

In the last 100 years, corals have been exposed to numerous threats, many of which have been associated with increased anthropogenic (human) activity. As a result, corals across the world have frequently shown signs of stress with several areas around the world seeing a mass reduction in coral cover. This has called for the need to conserve these essential reef builders, without which, there would be catestophic domino effects all over the world's oceans.

A common method for coral restoration is through ‘active restoration’. This involves direct interaction with coral fragments in order to help them survive and continue to grow. Artificial reef building is a common example of active restoration, and is an established method used by the Roctopus ecoTrust in areas requiring coral restoration. Fragments that are found living in hostile environments (most commonly when lying in the sand) are collected and transferred to permanent artificial structures which are less stressful than the environment they were previously living in. Postioned on structures nestled in the natural reef, these fragments (known as ‘fragments of opportunity’) grow and thrive. The goal being to restore areas were there has historically been disturbance or damage to the reef, bringing back reef fish and increasing biodiversity. 

The Roctopus ecoTrust has gained permission to do active coral restoration work through the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), Thailand, and have trained experts working on the project. Interns at the Roctopus ecoTrust have the opportunity to contribute to our active restoration activites under the close supervision of our DMCR certified Coral Restoration Instructor, who demonstrates and teaches approved methods of coral transplantation.

Coral Restoration Koh Tao

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