Marine scientists at CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre say the coral nursery project established in September last year to help replenish local reefs is doing well. As a pilot project, researchers deployed a single structure, multiplying four parent colonies of staghorn coral to 58 new individuals. After 3 months of the trial, all colonies have survived and are growing rapidly. These positive results provide the basis for installing additional structures and further developing the nursery, according to CCMI. Focusing on the fast growing staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) which experienced massive mortality in the 1980’s, the nursery will augment existing populations, enhance the existing reef structure and could potentially improve overall coral reef health.
“The indirect beneﬁts of this conservation project and a healthier reef ecosystem will positively impact local tourism and improve local ﬁsh stocks,” noted a report from the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI).
The nursery site was selected after a workshop at the centre to ensure good water quality, low predation, and workable depths. It is located due north of the centre which provides easy access for maintenance and oversight.
The coral projects is one of many important marine conservation initiatives and research studies taking place at the centre, some of which is recorded in the research summary posted below.