[Coral-List] Underwater sculptures (Todd Barber)

Jorge Luis Perez-Moreno jorge.perezmoreno at uqconnect.edu.au
Fri Jul 6 11:46:57 EDT 2012

Hello everyone,

During my dives there I have indeed noted a distinct lack of large grazers (scaridae mainly) around the sculptures and also the surrounding reefs (Manchones).

I am unsure as to what the cause of this is, as the place is supposedly a marine protected area and no extraction activities are allowed. However, we should keep in mind that it is not very well policed and poaching incidents do occur from time to time (such as the 50 lobsters Jason mentioned).

It could be a compounded issue combining the fishing pressures before it became a MPA (not sure when this happened though), eventual poaching events, and maybe even the loss of structural complexity of the reef for recruitment of fishes because of algal overgrowth (due to decreased grazing + increased nutrients). 

Whatever it is, something that is clear is that Cancun's sewage is playing an important role in this issue.


Jorge Luis

From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov] on behalf of Chad Scott [marineconservationkt at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 7:54 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Underwater sculptures (Todd Barber)

I think it is such a shame to see these amazing sculptures so covered in
macroalgae. I was really impressed when seeing the original pictures taken
shortly after the sculptures went down. Although I agree with most of your
points about the different stages of succession that artificial reefs go
through, I must say that this amount of algae should not be considered
'normal'. There is a problem here that definitely should be adressed.

I have assisted or led the deployment of dozens of various artificial reef
structures in the Gulf of Thailand (very high in nutrients) over the last 6
years, and have never had any of the sites become so developed in

How far away from a natural reef are these structures? Because it seems
from the pictures that no herbivores fishes are present. Generally when we
deploy sculptures or coral nurseries we will simultaniously deploy fish
nurseries to provide some some complex habitat and encourage herbivores
fishes to move into the site.

Also, how regularly are people going to maintain the site? Most people
really underestimate the man hours needed to properly take care of
artificial reefs until they develop to similar stages as the natural ones.

Good luck to both you and Jason in your efforts, this is still a really
great project and I hope that it will eventually end in even greater

Chad Scott
Marine Project Coordinator
Save Koh Tao Marine Branch

Program Director
New Heaven Reef Conservation Program

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