Up Geographical Database for photos, videos, GPS Coordinates, news, and project descriptions. » Mexican Reef Ball Projects and Photos » cozumel » National Marine Park Wilma Impacted Coral Rehabilitation Projects

The Cozumel Marine Park has formally released studies that more finely detail the conclusion from initial Hurricane Wilma assessments that the marine ecosystems in shallow water were impacted severly by the long duration storm. A Coral Team was formed to train the marine park in techniques for coral rehabilitation and to conduct a demonstration project at Playa Dzul Ha. The team included coral experts from the region, park staff and scientists and Reef Ball Foundation trainers. Additional volunteers joined the project and local businesses, including the Money Bar (COMER REALTY INVESTMENTS ) donated funding to make Phase II possible. Many in the community provided additional resources to amplify the project's objectives. Over 70 Reef Balls of various sizes were used as a base for planting propagated, rescued and imperiled corals. A special effort was made to re-establish populations of endangered Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmata) because there was only 1 colony left after the storm at Playa Dzul Ha. In fact, we could only locate 9 colonies on the south side of Cozumel. By the end of the demonstration, the team had multiplied this adding 30 new colonies by asexual reproduction. Another objective was to stablize many basketball sized rocks left behind by the storm which could form 'missles" and damage the natural corals in future storms. The team was trained to grade the biology present on the rocks and to stabilize them inside of the Reef Balls in layer depths compatible with the biological grade. [Turf algae rocks in the bottom layer, corline algae rocks in the middle and rocks with soft or hard corals or other marine life on top]. Additionally, the park wanted to make the site more attractive to snorkelers to take pressure off other shallow water reefs to allow them recovery time. This was accomplished by adding the Reef Balls in human friendly depths within Playa Dzul Ha, extending the reef ball snorkeling trail to the Money Bar and will be further augmented by a planned snorkeling trail at Playa Uvas as a next phase. If the Elkhorn coral propagation and planting proves successful, another phase might include a genetic rescue of all Elkhorn corals on the south coast of Cozumel to ensure no more genetic lines of Elkhorn are lost. Because snail preditors loads on the remaining Eikhorn corals are still very high after the storms, elkhorn recovery will be very difficult. It is unknown if the normally successful coral plantings can handle such high preditor levels. Marine Park staff biologists will be monitoring the progress and hope the new plantings will spread out the preditor pressure. New information from scientists suggests that due to lack of shallow water ledge habitat for lobster, these snails may reach plague levels since their natural preditor is lobster. Efforts to remove the snails are being considered.

PlayaDzulHa
PlayaUvas
scientificstudies

Made with JAlbum & Chameleon | Help