Washington, June 5 (ANI): Research says that the simplest and cheapest option to preserve coral reefs may be transplantation.
Carried out by Dr Graham Forrester from the University of Rhode Island, the research suggests conservation volunteers to use the simple solution to repair damaged reefs at White Bay in the British Virgin Islands.
"Often coral restoration projects are not designed as scientific studies or monitored, so nobody can answer the questions "how well did it work?" or "what's the best way to go about this?", said Forrester. "The scientific community is providing the answers to these questions, and we wanted to contribute by emphasizing methods that are simple and cheap enough to be used by volunteers with little training."
The team found in an experiment that transplanted pieces of elkhorn coral, often damaged naturally by storms, reattached themselves after three months and after 4 years had become large adult corals.
"To use a gardening analogy, the sourced coral is like an orchard of fruit trees," said Forrester. "Storms knocked some twigs off the trees and we replanted them on barren ground. The twigs grow and blossom to form a new orchard. It's the same process."
Requiring little training, recreational divers and could be woven into public educational activities and adopted by volunteer groups.
"Coral reefs face several threats, some of which are far removed and global in scale," concluded Forrester. "The coral transplantation methods we tested provide a simple, relatively low-cost way for people to improve the quality of their local environment and enhance reefs where natural recovery is slow."
The research is published in Restoration Ecology. (ANI)