Bringing back the coral reef
A healthy reef (control) photo credit Claude Reveret
One of the main challenges in any coral reef restoration project is to document that the restored site is making good progress, meaning, the restoration effort has resulted in a recovery of the ecosystem function and is closer to a healthy undisturbed reef than to a degraded, dead reef.
During the month of November 2014, the Reef Rescuers team completed a series of underwater surveys, collecting data on fish and coral species composition and abundance at the coral reef restoration site within the marine reserve of the Cousin Island Special Reserve. This area includes the restored coral reef (restoration site) and two control sites, degraded and healthy. By comparing our progress at the restoration site with the control sites, we can quantify how close we are getting to a healthy coral reef and how far from a degraded reef.
Transplanted reef photo credit Claude Reveret
In these three panoramic views of the corals and fish at each site. We can see the restoration site is half way between the control healthy and the control degraded sites. Below are panoramic views of selected locations within each site.
A degraded reef photo credit Claude Reveret
The survey was completed by scientific divers Dr. Phanor Montoya-Maya, and Claude Reveret, with the coordination of Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres. We are now analyzing the data for future publication in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.