Lessons learned from small-scale coral outplanting intervention at a restoration site on the Great Barrier Reef

Cook, Nathan, Smith, Adam, Songcuan, Al, Cassidy, Daniel, Sartori, Greta, and McLeod, Ian (2022) Lessons learned from small-scale coral outplanting intervention at a restoration site on the Great Barrier Reef. Ecological Management and Restoration, 23 (1). pp. 89-93.

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Abstract

Scientific, tourism and non-government organisations collaborated to design and undertake a small-scale coral outplanting intervention at Fitzroy Island, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Cairns, Australia. Activities were implemented to assist recovery of a reef showing signs of reduced coral cover after recent coral bleaching and to trial potential for implementation of work of this kind by community members. In December 2017, 240 coral fragments were collected and deployed on mid-water coral nursery infrastructure. Ten months later, 96 corals (˜15 cm) were outplanted onto bare sections of the surrounding reef rock at depths of 2–8 m. Monitoring was undertaken to measure changes in coral cover at treatment and control locations to determine the potential of using coral outplanting intervention to assist the recovery of degraded reefs. We found no significant difference in live coral cover between controls and treatment over a 12-month period. Although statistically insignificant, we observed an increase in live coral cover in treatment plots (9.8%) and control plots (2.2%), indicating natural recovery processes occurring across the reef. Total number of fish species and abundance increased significantly over time. Although the outplanting may not have been needed in this case, as a pilot project and the first coral nursery and active reef restoration project in the GBR Marine Park, the research provided valuable lessons associated with project collaboration and planning, site selection, monitoring and natural recovery vs restoration.

Item ID: 72715
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1839-3330
Keywords: Cairns, coral gardening, intervention, Reef restoration
Copyright Information: © 2021 Ecological Society of Australia and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2022 23:35
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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