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Building Resilience to Global Climate Change ‘Coral Gardening’ in Belize. What’s the problem?. Increasing sea temperature coral bleaching ‘95, ‘98, ‘05, ‘08, ‘09 Under stress, the animals that build coral reefs release their zooxanthellae.(a process known as bleaching)
Building Resilience to Global Climate Change‘Coral Gardening’ in Belize
What’s the problem? • Increasing sea temperature • coral bleaching ‘95, ‘98, ‘05, ‘08, ‘09 • Under stress, the animals that build coral reefs release their zooxanthellae.(a process known as bleaching) • This is a small algae that lives in coral tissue. • It gives corals their colour and uses sunlight to perform photosynthesis, providing the coral with necessary food and oxygen. • Bleached corals could be re-colonized by the algae if conditions return to normal. • If bleaching is not reversed, corals on reefs may dies, and the cora reef could looses its functions such as being able to effectively act as a shelter and breeding ground for fish and other marine species.
What results? From this ………………………………….. To this ………………………………..
What is coral gardening? • An innovative approach to increase the resilience of the reef to climate change • Take broken corals, re-plant them in ‘gardens’ • Work out which corals have genetic resilience to bleaching • Grow and plant these corals for a healthy reef and one that can resist climate change
Where are we working? Laughing Bird Caye National Park in southern Belize
Southern Belize Sites Stars represent coral nurseries, yellow dots collecting areas (For scale, Gladden Spit is 60km from Placencia)
Approximate locations of some transplanted fragments at Laughing Bird Caye National Park Location of natural Staghorn recruit
Who’s involved? • WWF, World Bank, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. • Principal researcher is Lisa Carne • Active participation of tour guides, reef managers and community members. • Coral genetic scientists: • Dr. Andrew (Uni of Miami) • Dr Iliana Baums (Pennsylvania State Uni)
Broken coral samples are collected in the wild. One approach to planting is to attach coral to concrete bases
Now planted underwater, this nursery contains Staghorn and Elkhorn corals. At rear – larger ‘plants’!
A close up view of the Staghorn and Elkhorn corals, which are zip tied to wires.
6 month old coral samples are collected from the nursery ready for re-planting.
11 month old Staghorn corals are taken to the Laughing Bird Caye National Park in southern Belize for replanting.
The rope and coral fragments are attached to a dead section of the reef using nails.
Staghorn coral fragments are also re-planted to the reef using cement!
What next? • Continuation and replication of coral nursery initiatives through participatory efforts with local community members, and tour guides and operators. • Additional training of partners in coral nursery set-up, monitoring and maintenance. • Continued research into coral and algae clade bleaching resistance levels and outplanting of potentially resilient corals to reefs.
Next Steps… • Determine spawning dates for acroporids (Staghorn and Elkhorn corals) in Belize (July/Aug 2001) • Mapping remaining large patches • Collect & ship X amount acroporid samples from outer reef for zooxanthellae clade ID • Design Phase Two including out-planting experiments: different locations/depths. • Consultants on how can we enhance recruitment?