Identifying environmental and biological drivers of post deployment survival

A major obstacle to successfully settling coral juveniles at scale for reef restoration is the high mortality rate of baby corals. Yet, understanding why recruits or juveniles perform well on one reef and poorly on a similar reef is a major knowledge gap. 

Starting in 2020, we are undertaking a four-year study to identify the environmental and biological factors that influence the survival of coral juveniles deployed on the Great Barrier Reef. 

The aim is to identify the environmental and biological causes of this high mortality rate in order to devise deployment solutions to overcome these. 

Ultimately, we aim to optimise large-scale deployment of juvenile corals by understanding what we should deploy where, and when to maximise the success of restored corals.  

About 25,000 baby corals from two species – Acropora millepora and Acropora hyacinthus will be deployed onto three different reefs that will allow comparison of survival and growth rates between central inshore and southern inshore reefs, and central inshore versus central offshore reefs. 

AIMS researchers will examine the immediate community around each coral deployment and how that impacts on the corals’ ability to survive and grow.  

The coral will be deployed on devices that will be engineered by AIMS to overcome barriers to survival that are identified. The deployed corals will be assessed each quarter and collected after 12 months.

 

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