Monday, March 14, 2016

Coral Nursery and Algae Removal Project

At Small Hope, we have been diving the Andros Barrier Reef for over 55 years. We have been enjoying this beautiful ecosystem and sharing it with all of our sub-aquatic enthusiasts. However, due various man-made and natural changes in this environment, our reefs are suffering.

Algae, in healthy quantities, is beneficial for the marine life. However, if it is not kept in check, it can suffocate a reef and its corals. In the 1970s there was a plague that affected the long-spined sea urchins, killing off a huge portion of them. The sea urchin eat the algae off the coral and help to maintain a healthy balance. With the loss of so many urchins the algae population was not kept in check and continued to grow, covering and suffocating many corals.

Here at Small Hope, we have escaped many of the ill effects that other Caribbean islands have suffered. We still enjoy a beautiful and healthy coral reef, with lots of variety of hard and soft corals, sponges and other sea life. But that doesn't mean we can't help make it even better!

We have recently been collaboration with the Bahamas National Trust and the Nature Conservancy in an effort to grow our corals and help remove some of the excess algae. Our dive staff has assisted in the creation of a coral nursery, growing one of the hard corals native to the area, Staghorn Coral. They have been learning how to care for these juvenile corals, transplant them to other parts of the reef, and learning how to help remove algae from areas where it is overgrown.

And now we are developing a program where our guests can join us in this effort as well. Stay tuned for details of how you can help assist our beautiful reef system when you come to dive with us! Pin It Now!

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