Curacao was SECORE's first study site, where we aim to better understand sexual reproduction of corals and develop new restoration strategies. The gained knowledge will be applied for reef restoration and protection and is shared during our annual workshop at Curacao. We work with several coral species, some of them new to study (coral spawning surprises). Workshop lead-organizer is SECORE scientist Valerie Chamberland, based on-site at CARMABI.
So far, we collected spawn and subsequently reared larvae of the broadcast spawners Montastraea faveolata, M. cavernosa, Colpophyllia natans, Diploria strigosa, and the spawncasters Dendrogyra cylindrus and Eusmilia fastigiata. In 2015, for the first time, we observed a mass-spawning event of Siderastrea siderea, a gonochoric species with male and female colonies, collected their gametes and accordingly reared the larvae. Another first that year was the collection and rearing of larvae of the ruby brittle star and the black sea urchin.
In 2016, we started to work with newly developed outdoor devices for coral propagation in cooperation with Curacao Sea Aquarium, Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and Shedd Aquarium. The purpose of these devices is to study rearing and settling of a large number of coral larvae for restoration approaches on a larger scale.
In former years, the main focus of the workshop was laid on spawning work with the endangered elkhorn coral. Now a small team of our experts take care of this work in August and September (late elkhorn coral spawning Curacao in 2015).
Title photo by Ben Müller, Carmabi