Reef Restoration Foundation Fitzroy Island Coral Nursery Monitoring: methods and results April - October 2020

Carter, A.B., Kish, H., and Chartrand, K. (2021) Reef Restoration Foundation Fitzroy Island Coral Nursery Monitoring: methods and results April - October 2020. Report. James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

This document outlines the methods, analysis and results that answer one of the key questions for the Reef Restoration Foundation: How do different species perform in the nursery?

Data was collected in April, July and October 2020 to answer these questions in the Fitzroy Island nursery.

For Acropora species, net and relative growth was significantly different between 3 and 6 months in the nursery, but no one species was a stand out in terms of growth.

For Pocillopora species, growth after 3 months was similar, but after 6 months net growth of P. damicornis was approximately double that of P. meandrina. Relative growth of fragments was 54 – 61% after 3 months in the nursery and 193 – 288% after 6 months.

Predation and disease were rare and recorded on only a few fragments.

Bleaching affected a low proportion of fragments; <3% in April and July which was significantly less than 6% in October.

Percent tissue mortality of fragments differed among species, with A. millepora mortality significantly greater than other species. This species should be monitored carefully to see if better handling can improve A. millepora fragment survivorship rates or else discontinue the propagation of this species.

Slow initial growth rates in the Fitzroy Island nursery mimic patterns found at the Hastings Reef nursery, indicating fragment recovery from propagation and handling occurs before growth rates increase significantly. Acropora species did not vary significantly in growth rates and therefore a broad assemblage of species from this genus should continue to be used in the nursery to enhance diversity during outplanting.

Temperature loggers added to the nursery should assist with interpretation of growth rates related to seasonal effects. While differences were observed in Pocillopora growth among species in the nursery, other factors have led us to recommend discontinuing the propagation of corals from this genus.

We recommend the focus at the Fitzroy Island site is shifted to outplant monitoring, ensuring suitable substrate is available, and developing techniques for securing corals on the reef following the nursery stage, to ensure greatest benefit to reef restoration.

Item ID: 70924
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: coral, restoration, Great Barrier Reef
Copyright Information: © James Cook University, 2021
Funders: Reef Restoration Foundation
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2021 23:30
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410405 Environmental rehabilitation and restoration @ 50%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1903 Mitigation of climate change > 190301 Climate change mitigation strategies @ 100%
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