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Engineered Structures for Microfragmentation Outplanting

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Restoration Activity

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Feb 1, 2020

Key Largo, FL 33037, USA

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Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) has worked with with collaborative partners SECORE, CRC, Reef Cells and ORA to develop and implement alternative restoration methods in order to facilitate large scale restoration for Orbicella spp. (Caribbean boulder corals). CRF is utilizing concrete and Calcium carbonate-based artificial structures to mimic dead boulder coral heads which are currently used to outplant plugs of nursery-raised Orbicella spp. tissue. On dead boulder coral heads coral tissue fragments are inserted into drilled holes on the dead coral which may allow coral tissue to rapidly fuse together into repoductively viable colonies. The artificial structure applies this same methodology with preset holes laid out on the surface of the boulder domes. Currently CRF is testing prototypes of two different sizes and compositions of these structures with live coral to determine their performance over time. The boulder domes may allow coral tissue to more rapidly fuse together into reproductively viable colonies, as well as provide relief from natural stressors such as sedimentation. To date, CRF has only field tested concrete domes, with monitoring intervals set at one month and one year.

Image by Dustin Humes

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