Promoting Restoration, Education and
Protection, for the World's Coral Reefs

Transplant sites


Table Coral City
Table Coral City was a popular dive site (mainly during the low season) on the northeast tip of Phi Phi Ley.
When the 2004 tsunami hit, the wave whipped around the tip of the island and damaged the dive site tearing off many of the table corals located there.
This site was suitable for a number of reasons.
. The donor corals were collected from within this area.
. The coral nursery was situated only one hundred meters away making transportation quick and easy.
. The substrate offered a suitable surface for transplantation.


Installation
Metal Bar Attachments
Metal bars are hammered into the substrate to offer points to attach the branching forms of coral fragments. Corals are then attached by the use of plastic cable ties.


Advantage:
. Increases transplantation speeds
. Offers more points of attachment
. Raises the fragments from the surface, which reduce attacks from corralivores.
. Can be installed on sandy, or rubble surfaces where corals usually cannot form as quickly.


Disadvantages
. Increases the cost of transplantation: (metal bars and cable ties)
. Initially aesthetically unattractive
. Introduces non natural materials
. Bars can be dislodged quite easily

Natural Insertion
Holes are made in the substrate, and coral fragments are then inserted. The fragments are wedged in place by the use of bamboo sticks and the fragments encrust onto the substrate.


Advantage:
. Reduces the cost of installation (bamboo sticks only)
. Creates a natural appearing reef
. Does not introduce additional unnatural products


Disadvantages
. Time consuming. Making holes is extremely difficult without underwater pneumatic drills.
. Less fragments can be installed in any one dive
. Takes greater skilled divers to correctly install fragments without causing damage to existing corals
. Finding suitable substrate for installation is limited
. Fragments can be dislodged if not installed correctly


Other Transplants Areas
Adjacent to Coral Nursery
We have started to transplant areas near to the nursery. Success rates are high although the work is slow due to the lack of underwater drills. As long as enough care and attention to correctly attaching the fragments is taken, we have found that we lose very few fragments.
After about 1 year the bamboo sticks rot away leaving corals that appear to have grown naturally.


2009 Metal racks experiment
In January 2009, the Phuket Marine Biology Center installed these square metal racks, which are an improved version of the earlier test on using metal racks.

This method enables the installation of 12 fragments to each rack and these racks are suitable to be installed onto reef rubble or sandy bottoms.


Soon after installation a number of these fragments bleached and died. These fragments had been growing in the nursery for nearly two years and were healthy prior to transplanting to the metal racks. However the remaining fragments appear to be stable.


University of Missouri sites
Students from the University of Missouri have assisted the transplanting to two sites during the
Coral Rehabilitation Workshops


Installation techniques improve as experience working with the students grows. The first year's transplants noted that many fragments were incorrectly installed for the following reasons.

. Attempting to install too many fragments
. Inserting fragments too close to existing corals.
. Lack of quality control staff

Recommendations
. Attempt to install fewer fragments correctly than too many fragments incorrectly.
. Ensure each group of installers is correctly briefed.
. Train staff to oversee each group of installers and to control quality of work

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