Phase 1 - Artificial Reefs
We are building concrete "coral castles" to be placed in the ocean and give polyps a sturdy place to live and to provide habitat for fish. These structures are made with PH neutral cement and various other materials - such as, PVC, chicken wire and rebar. We have exceeded 50 structures under water, which was our goal for 2018.
Phase 2 - Farming Coral
Collecting coral for nursery growth
After 3 persistent years, the country of Panama awarded Ayuda A la Tierra, SA/ dba Coral Restoration Panama permissions to collect and farm specific coral species. Our first action was to find and collect Staghorn and Elkhorn coral fragments that had naturally separated from their colonies. These collections came from 4 different sites across the archipelago. Once transported back to our open-water nursery site, we populated 9 “coral nursery trees” from the collected fragments (6 Staghorn and 3 Elkhorn trees). These will forever be our first-generation nursery trees.
The fragments grow very quickly in our nursery and we have begun trimming them to create our first round of 2nd generation coral trees. Repeating this method with future generations. we plan to build our nursery up to 30 trees which will completely sustain our nursery for out-planting of these two coral species. If all goes well, we should be able to consistently transplant over 200 clones from each species into the reefs every month. Over a few short years, thousands of new corals will be generated; all from those first few fragments we originally collected.
We are currently in the process of setting up land- based tanks and shallow-water platforms so other coral species can be farmed in a similar manner but be maintained without having to scuba dive.
Phase 3 - Planting Coral
We have begun with a small number of outplanted corals to see if they take to the new environment. So far so good!
Phase 4 - Share the Love
Once our nursery is up and running and our theories of reef rebuilding have been proven we will take our knowledge to the community and help to rebuild reefs all over the archipelago of Bocas del Toro.
The Hero of our Project:
mUsa (the boat)
MUSA was donated to us by Ted Hannig and is the perfect vessel to transport the castles from land to the ocean floor. We planted more than 50 structures in 2018 with MUSA’s help and are looking forward to what’s to come.