Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coral cultivation offers hope to devastated western Indian Ocean reefs

Wanjohi Kabukuru at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: Marine scientists in the Seychelles are propagating and replanting corals resistant to bleaching in the hope of replacing destroyed reefs in the western Indian Ocean with ones that are more resilient.

Each workday, Claude Reveret and Sarah Frias-Torres of Nature Seychelles, a not-for-profit environmental organisation, lead a team of scuba divers down to the ocean floor around Praslin, the country’s second-largest island, and the nearby Cousin Island Special Reserve.

There they take part in an unusual undersea gardening project – cultivating corals that have proven resistant to the stress caused by warming water, which has led to the collapse of coral reef systems in the western Indian Ocean.

The large-scale death of coral reefs has exposed the Seychelles to increased erosion and the loss of fisheries that the reefs had harboured. The Indian Ocean island nations of Mauritius and Comoros and the eastern African countries of Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia are also affected.

The restoration project, which began in 2010 with over $700,000 in funding from the US Agency for International Development and the UN Development Programme, “is our response to climate change effects,” says Reveret....

Marie Louise Island, Amirantes, Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Shot by Acp at de.wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons,  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license 

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