Coral reefs worldwide are exposed to multiple threats, mainly caused by human impacts, this is causing global coral reef degradation. In the Tropical Eastern Pacific of Costa Rica, coral reefs have been affected by unsustainable fishing practises, invasive species, sedimentation from rivers, and runoff from agriculture and from human populations. All of these factors call for action – after studying current reef health, and the potential for coral restoration in Costa Rica.
Currently, in our coral restoration project, we are working with 3 different species of endemic reef building coral. Firstly, we harvest coral from healthy wild coral colonies, or where possible, healthy coral fragments of opportunity. Corals are then micro fragmented and placed in our ocean nurseries which are situated near our target reef restoration sites. In the nurseries, we care for the coral fragments until they grow to a size suitable for out-planting back on to the reef.
Pavona comes in various formations, here it tends to grown in lobulated or plated colonies. When the tentacles are visible, the colony has a furry look. Pavona has an orange, brown or pinkish colour in our region. It is normally found in the between 10 and 30 m depth range and is quite slow growing.
Porites colonies are encrusting and can reach several meters in diameter. Polyps are very small, pentagonal and and look like little pores. So it is easy to remember it’s called porites. They are normally found in 12-20m and slow growing. Colonies often display scars and white markings caused by fish bites and are a generally beige or greenish in colour.
Pocillopora is a branching colony with quite short branches. It is normally brown to greenish in color. and Found slightly shallower in the 5-15m depth range.
They grow well in stronger currents or surge and grow reasonably quickly for a stony coral.