[Coral-List] Coral reef restoration -Seychelles

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 20 08:54:51 EDT 2015

Kevin,thanks for your email. It's too bad we didn't work together, but such is the nature of a multi-generational project.
You refer mostly to our cleaning station paper (Frias-Torres & van de Geer 2015; https://peerj.com/articles/1287/ ) where we used ropes with corals just prior to transplantation to test the ability of resident coral reef fishes to clean biofouling. So this is where I'll focus my email.
Your description of site selection and methods for the rope nurseries provides a valuable historical account of that phase in the project. We didn't include such description in our paper because it was beyond the scope of the paper. We made appropriate references to the pioneering work of the Israeli team led by Dr. Baruck Rinkevich at the Haifa Oceanographic Institute. They cover site selection and nursery techniques extensively. The same goes for the biofouling succession in the nurseries. 
However, such information is included in our Toolkit, soon to be released.
You are correct in assuming we continued to collect data after you left the project. There are manuscripts in the pipeline focusing on the issues you mention, such as the ecosystem level effects of the large-scale coral reef restoration. 
Once the papers are published, we'll share them with the Coral-List community. Until then, I'm bound to the journal embargo and unable to provide more details. 

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. Twitter: @GrouperDocBlog: http://grouperluna.wordpress.comhttp://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTorres

> From: kevin.s.moses at gmail.com
> Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2015 10:43:01 +0530
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] Coral reef restoration -Seychelles
> Hello Everyone,
> Recently there have been two posts on coral reef restoration in the
> Seychelles (paper 1:
> http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ref/10.2989/1814232X.2015.1078259  and paper
> 2: https://peerj.com/articles/1287/ ). I would like to add a few points to
> what has been discussed through these two papers. I have worked as a
> scientific diver at the Reef rescue project for 14 months. I have never
> worked along with any of the authors , and this is one of the main reasons
> I am putting my thoughts across as I feel that earlier observations and the
> restoration history at cousin island, could help reef restoration managers
> decide on positioning of coral nurseries and energy devoted to cleaning.
> The Science in the two papers  are quite influential in the topic of
> nurseries and where to place them, either at the  growing phase or just
> before transplanting.  Although there were two types of nurseries created
> in the reef rescuer project, net nurseries and rope nurseries, each had its
> own separate purpose and intended use. I will here talk about the rope
> nurseries as this formed the backbone of the study.
> When Gideon levy conceived and started the project, he chose to place the
> rope nurseries away from the island, Cousin island does not have a lagoon
> (which of course would have been ideal) . They decided to set up their rope
> nurseries about 400 m away from the shore. This has several advantages,
> 1)      the water was deep enough to hold mid water nurseries(i.e)  Our
> transplantation site area fell within 7-10 m, hence we choose our donor
> corals from about the same depth, and  this in turn determined at what
> depth we  placed the nursery at  (they initially tried keeping them at  at
> 6m, but they were showing signs of bleaching so they were pulled down to
> 8m, this should also help if your growing phase coincided with a mass
> bleaching event in area, you can save the fragments you are growing simply
> by lowering them a few meters).
> 2)      Its good to have a few meters free space below your nursery
> especially when you have many large rope nurseries at a time (like they
> have in Seychelles) , you would not be able to visit  them all every day,
> and sometimes due to nature of the sea or simply the increasing weight due
> to growth  you would find the  nurseries slowly sinking to the bottom.
> 3)      Another reason the nursery site was far enough from shore and reef
> was to have a sandy bottom, making hammering the 2m angle bar into it easy
> ( for anchorage).
> 4)       Most importantly having the nursery far enough from shore prevents
> any physical damage to any surrounding natural landscape, in case shit
> happens, which it once did, where we lost 3500 coral fragments due to an
> out of season storm, the nursery still ended up on the other side of the
> island washed up on the shore in a huge ball of tangled heavy mess two days
> later.  (The damage it caused on its way to the shore was immeasurable)
> 5)       Cleaning was also much easier, there being safe tangle free access
> from all sides to the coral filled ropes.
> Moreover Cleaning is something that all nurseries would require, and all
> restoration managers have to be prepared for, You will not be able to count
> on nature initially for about 4- 6 weeks (the critical stage). In all our
> nurseries light green turf algae were the initial colonizers, later they
> were colonized by a darker redish green filamentous algae ( if it’s the
> same species or not I don’t know), its only after this that other organisms
> like barnacles and mussels attach to the nursery ropes/coral fragments many
> weeks later. Corals for the most part are able to fight of barnacles and
> over grow them. It is the competition with algae that is most critical.
> Usually surgeons and parrot fishes graze on the nurseries after about 4-6
> weeks of it being filled and in one place, by this time if the nurseries
> are cleaned regularly (atleast once a week) the corals would have “caught
> the rope” (its when coral tissue  grows over the rope through which it is
> placed and fuses with itself . Once this happens cleaning can be done even
> once a month, as it was only after this stage that the corals out compete
> algae and coral tissue starts growing along the rope ( sorry I cant attach
> pictures here on coral list, I will send it to anyone on request)
> Hope some of these above factors would also help you when setting up such
> large nurseries.
> These are just my personal observations and opinions; you’ll will have to
> enquire the thoughts of Gideon levy, Bart Linden, and Callum Roberts, the
> other long term members and contributors of the team. They may or may not
> agree with me. On the whole I would like to congratulate  all those I
> worked under and worked with , whatever we did, we seemed to have done
> right(secondary sources). The test was whether the “mass transplantation
> (cementing/anchoring) of corals of various (select) branching and tabulate
> species would aid in the recruitment of fishes and invertebrates, Which we
>  hoped would modify the environment enough around them to allow natural
> recruitment of other slower growing coral species. As the second papers
> suggests, after about 10-12 thousand corals transplanted in a 100x20m space
> there was the presence of fishes,  part of which was a guild of
> cleaners/grazers.
> About the initial transplanting process, We tried transplanting corals
> first by directly anchoring coral filled ropes to the reef with nails, this
> was not effective(pictures on the nature Seychelles reef rescuers blog),
> Mostly because of the swell was strong enough to pull out the nails, and
> also because of fish predation on other organisms on the rope( here using
> the fish assisted cleaning may make a difference) .A small impromptu survey
> about 3-4 months later found only a handful of the corals on the ropes self
> attached to the substrate. After nailing in about 5000-6000 corals we
> decided to cement individual corals instead.
> We then added about 4500 corals by cementing, where we cut the ropes very
> close to the coral tissue ( we were trying to minimize the amount of nylon
> left in the sea), with this technique there was little or no dislodgment of
> corals due to predation( so nature assisted cleaning was not really
> needed), As the 15-20 cm of rope between corals was cut out completely
> along with the barnacles and such. Only a handful of the 150-300 coral
> fragments we put in every day were dislodged. This was mainly the
> Pocillopora sps, as they tended to grow in a nice globular shape. The
> swells just rolled them right off before the cement could harden.
> It was after this point that the authors in the second paper came into the
> project and conducted their experiments, What is unknown is whether they
> changed their transplantation technique(including cutting of the ropes) or
> if they continued the same, and since their experiment has no proper before
> it is hard to say if the fish assisted cleaning was because of the 12000 or
> so corals added before they conducted their experiment.
> I had established a simple BACI design to understand this process of
> recruitment better ( also put in two controls one healthy and one degraded
> for this reason), and all efforts from the sampling to transplantation was
> completely randomized(until end of April 2013). Hopefully the current crew
> continued with collecting data regularly and would analyze and publish this
> data soon.
> Thanks for reading.
> Regards
> Kevin Moses.
> kevin.moses at my.jcu.edu.au
> kevin.s.moses at gmail.com
> *I wonder, If  Bethany Hamilton had boarded the Pequod instead of Ishmael,
> would Captain Ahab have met his fate at the hands of Moby Dick.*
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