Artificial Reef Project Koh Tao

Corals play an essential role in providing habitats to other marine organisms that are found living in reef 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. 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 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 if we are to save the existence of our coral reefs.

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. Coral nurseries are a common example of active restoration, and have been established 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 temporary artificial structures which are less stressful than the environment they were previously living in. Nurseries house these fragments (known as ‘fragments of opportunity’) until they have reached a certain size and condition which will favour their survival when permanently attached to the reef of artifical reef structures.

The Roctopus ecoTrust have also established a coral reef restoration project working with international schools in Bangkok. This project aims to restore certain reefs on Koh Tao where the natural growth and development of certain corals is limited. Artificial reef structures deployed in these areas offer stability to transplanted corals, creating a more suitable environment for coral survival, growth, and future colony development. As the coral fragments develop into larger colonies, they provide habitats for a multitude of reef fish and other marine organisms. In doing so, this project aims to increase the abundance and biodiversity of marine life across the reef, allowing it to thrive once more.

Coral Restoration Koh Tao

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