Earth Week Presentation: “Growing Up Fast: A Land-Based Coral Nursery for Restoring Hawai‘i’s Reefs”
In honor of Earth Day and Earth Week, the public is invited to a free presentation on “Growing Up Fast: A Land-Based Coral Nursery for Restoring Hawaiʻi’s Reefs” on Zoom on Wednesday, April 21 at 5:30 p.m.
The presenter will be coral specialist Christina Jayne of the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources Hawaiʻi Coral Restoration Nursery. The talk is hosted by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, as part of its monthly “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series.” To reserve a spot at this free Zoom webinar, visit http://bit.ly/coralnurserywebinar
Coral reef restoration is the process of raising new corals–often from fragments of coral salvaged from the wild–in a protected, nurturing environment, then transplanting them out into the ocean to grow and form new reefs. When combined with efforts to improve coral reef habitat, it is viewed as a way to help coral reefs survive the stresses of climate change and warming ocean waters.
For the past two years, Jayne has worked for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources as a coral restoration specialist at the Hawaiʻi Coral Restoration Nursery on Oʻahu with director David Gulko. Before moving to Honolulu, she earned her bachelor’s in Marine Biology from the University of California San Diego and her masters from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
“Hawaiʻi’s reefs are extremely unique and Hawaiian corals have some of the slowest growth rates in the world, which is why the State has taken an innovative, land-based approach to coral restoration,” said Jayne.
Hawaiʻi’s first state coral nursery, which is managed by DAR, opened in 2016 at the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center on Oʻahu.
Corals are brought to the Coral Restoration Nursery and are rapidly grown using a series of aquarium-based techniques that help them to generate large coral colony modules in a fraction of the time it would take naturally, which can be out-planted back on the reef.
The nursery typically uses corals for out-planting from harbors because of their lower ecological value compared to corals from natural areas, says DAR, and they may also be more resilient to any challenges and environmental changes.
University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant researchers are also conducting experiments at the Anuenue facility to understand different environmental conditions, like light and water movement, that are useful for growing corals quickly. Creating the best environment for the corals to grow rapidly will help to restore local reefs after disturbance events such as bleaching or physical damage.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series” events are held monthly via Zoom. Support for these events is provided by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.
Founded in 2007, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization working for clean ocean water, healthy coral reefs and abundant native fish for the islands of Maui County.