Bonaire’s Restoration Strategy Is Changing Due To Coral Disease
In the midst of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) on Bonaire’s reefs, the Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire revealed this week that it is altering its coral regeneration approach.
Since the discovery of SCTLD on Bonaire’s reefs in March 2023, STINAPA has taken many steps to curb its spread, including restricting access to concerned reef regions and administering antibiotic treatments to damaged corals.
Reef Renewal Bonaire reports that it is focused its efforts on boosting the populations of nine coral species whose numbers have been severely affected by the illness as part of an integrated conservation and restoration plan. Two key methods will be used to carry out this strategic shift:
Growing the Number of Resilient Coral Colonies
Over the last two months, Reef Renewal Bonaire has been identifying and choosing coral colonies in severely affected regions that have shown a certain amount of “resistance.” These colonies will be transported to the nursery for reproduction before being outplanted on the reef.
Enhancing Genetic Diversity
In order to diversify and strengthen current coral populations, the organization promotes coral reproduction and genetic recombination utilizing larval propagation.
Francesca Virdis, Chief Operating Officer of Reef Renewal Bonaire, highlighted the organization’s recent activities, saying:
“Over the past few months, we’ve surveyed highly affected ‘red zone’ areas to monitor and map coral colonies of various species. After identifying colonies which have exhibited ‘resistance’ to the disease thus far, we are scheduled to begin propagating them by the end of this month. Furthermore, during the May spawning event of grooved brain coral (Diploria labyrinthiformis), another highly susceptible species, we reared hundreds of thousands of coral larvae in our floating ‘CRIB’ and successfully outplanted more than 25,000 young settlers onto the reef. Each of these settlers possesses a unique genetic makeup, equipping them with enhanced resilience to ongoing diseases and other stressors.”
Visit reefrenewalbonaire.org to learn more about the activities of Reef Renewal Bonaire.
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