Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire proudly announces the installation of a temporary or “pop-up” coral nursery at Oil Slick Leap as part of a project funded through the European Union’s BEST 2.0 Programme. The Coral Tree nursery has seven trees and will be home to 700 corals once full. The nursery was installed by CRF Bonaire staff and volunteers after carefully surveying the site at Oil Slick. Now that the installation has been completed, CRF Bonaire staff have begun bringing broodstock corals to the nursery. Broodstock are the corals that will provide the initial stock from which all 700 corals will eventually be propagated.
The installation of the Coral Tree nursery is the first milestone in this innovative project. At its completion, this project will see 700 nursery-raised Elkhorn corals transplanted back to the reef at Oil Slick – a reef that was documented to historically have abundant populations, but today has only a few, isolated coral colonies remaining. All 700 corals will be grown and propagated at Oil Slick Leap, acclimatizing the corals to their soon-to-be home and simplifying the logistics for restoration divers, helping to maximize the efficiency of the restoration efforts.
Before and after transplanting, the restoration area will be monitored with a cutting-edge 3-D modeling technology to better assess and measure coral growth, abundance, and health. This easy-to-use, non-intrusive photogrammetry tool will save divers valuable underwater time and create snapshots in time of the corals to allow for researchers to re-analyze the models for years to come.
After transplanting all of the corals grown in the coral nursery, the trees will be removed, leaving no visible trace of what was once there. After the removal of the nursery trees, monitoring of the transplanted corals will continue in an effort to better understand how the Elkhorn corals are growing and surviving after transplantation.