Dedicated coral gardeners are doing their part to restore the declining reefs in Fiji. Watch as these men and women propagate corals and then re-seed the wild reefs in an effort to restore them to their former glory. (Note the vibrant colors and rapid growth!) This is a pilot project currently underway, that is being highlighted by BBC in the documentary series “South pacific”. The film was made under the guidance of Jonathan Clay who was grateful enough to share this clip to the world.
Corals are dying on a massive scale due to bleaching caused by hot waters, the third global event in history. In some places >90% of the corals will turn white and die. However a few corals do not bleach even in the hotter water. Unfortunately many of these “genetic treasures” are subsequently killed off by coral predators. The project will involve communities in coral predator removal, the creation of nurseries of resilient corals, and out-planting second generation adapted corals to reefs.
The massive global coral bleaching crisis is expected to worsen in 2016, due to unusually hot waters from El Nino. In bleaching the corals lose their brown micro-algae and they usually starve to death. Without corals, the reefs provide poor fish habitat and communities suffer. In the mass bleaching of 2000 in Fiji, we saw that 10% of the corals did not bleach, but unfortunately these surviving corals were subsequently killed by over-abundant predators, such as crown of thorns starfish, COTS.
Coral reefs are like underwater gardens, but who would have thought you can garden them just the same? Austin Bowden-Kerby is a coral gardener. He has brought together his love of gardening, and passion for the underwater world, to do something very special that just might save the coral reefs of Fiji.
Source Video 1: greenscreenfilmfest
Source Video 2: bbc.co.uk