Les village is known for its marine ornamental fishing tradition, for both the local and overseas markets. In the 1980s, and early 2000s potassium cyanide was extensively used because of its effectiveness in catching fish. As a result, coral reef habitat sin the Les area were severely damaged, and lost much of their biodiversity. In an effort to rehabilitate the damaged reefs, the LINI Aquaculture and Training Centre (LATC) has deployed more than 2,000 artificial reef structures on the old reef flat, and many more structures are being added as time goes by. These three-dimensional structures have enhanced the reef significantly. Two of LINI’s latest interns, Anthony and Dewi, have been conducting regular artificial reef monitoring surveys to gain more understanding about the improvements our artificial reef structures are helping to create.
Currently, we have two on-going reef monitoring programs. First is the artificial reef coral recruitment survey. We counted the number of hard and soft coral structures, tunicates, sponges, and sea fans that grow on selected artificial reef structures at various depths. The data were used to compare the biodiversity on artificial reef structures that are located at 5 – 7 meters depth with those at 10 – 12 meters depth. In the second program, we tagged several hard coral structures, and measured how much they grow every week. We measure the sizes of the tagged corals, (length or width) depending on the species. Then we compare growth rates of corals growing at different depths. These monitoring programs are research-based activities, meaning that we are required to develop a research question with a scientifically-robust methodology. This information can be applied to help us decide on to how to improve placement of our artificial reefs on the sea bed, and more generally, to gain more knowledge about marine science. We hope that these studies will help us to determine the most effective depths at which we need to deploy our artificial reef structures in the sea around Les.
We are looking for dive volunteers to assist us in our reef monitoring programs. If you are interested in helping us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not need to have a background in marine science to be able to help us, as training will be given prior to conduct the monitoring.