Optimum fragment size of A. cervicornis for out planting and in-situ coral nurseries, Saba – Dutch Caribbean

Over millions of people around the globe depend on coral reefs for their livelihood and food. Coral reefs also play an important role in coastal protection against strong wave activities and coastal ero-sion. Globally coral reefs have been declining in the past few decades, due to human-induced climate change and anthropogenic disturbances e.g. coastal development, pollution, overfishing, anchoring etc. The worldwide decline in coral abundance along with losses in key ecosystem services, has prompted multiple efforts to mitigate further losses and restore reef function. One of thos efforts is the use of coral nurseries. . The nursery methodology involves three stages: 1. collection of a limited amount of coral fragments from wild populations; 2. growth of the fragments in a nursery setting; 3. out planting of the grown fragments to damaged reefs. In the Caribbean, the RESCQ-project has been organised to help restoring coral reefs and their ecosystem services damaged by mostly white-band disease, with the use of a coral nursery. The goal of this research is to find the optimum fragment size with the highest growth rate of A. cervicornis. Therefore, 50 A. cervicornis fragments were meas-ured over a period of 55 days. During this study, the average growth rate of the fragments in the nursery of Saba was 5,7 cm in total length a month, with a survival rate of 80% of the fragments. Depth shows no significant influence on the growth rate of the fragments. Initial fragment size how-ever did have a significant influence on the growth rate.

Thesis report.

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