The Ministry of Environment, Water and Environmental Transformation (MAATE) reported Tuesday that experts are developing a coral reef cultivation project in the Ecuadorean archipelago of Galapagos to restore ecosystems.
The Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG) of the Ministry of the Environment, with financial support from the organization Galapagos Reserve,Implementation of a pilot project to test the different methods that favor the reproduction and growth of coral reefs in the “Nursehouse”.
This arboretum, installed in the Bahia Accademia, located in Santa Cruz, is expected to contribute to the restoration of one of the most fragile marine ecosystems in existence.
New fish and invertebrates appear
Since the nursery was carried out in 2020, park rangers, along with other volunteers, have applied various techniques to reproduce different types of corals, as noted in a statement.
The researchers used bricks, cement discs, low beds, raised beds, and a string system to determine the most effective method for coral growth.
One of the results achieved was the planting of fourteen Punta Estrada coral fragments that remained for a year in the nursery, where DPNG technicians and volunteers constantly monitored the growth process.
“The nursery area has introduced positive changes with the presence of coral reefs, such as the emergence of new fish and invertebrates colonizing the area,” said Jennifer Suarez, lead ranger on the project.
The Ministry of Environment is working to increase the number of shrapnel for each species in the nursery in order to transplant them to the restoration site, when they reach a size that allows them to survive.
The letter said a system has also been installed to measure physical parameters such as salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen and temperature, which are essential to understanding the health of coral reefs.
El Niño is the enemy of coral
Danny Rueda, Director of the Galapagos National Park, stated that the project “will re-establish areas of significant ecological value in the Galapagos Marine Reserve for the benefit of local ecosystems and productive sectors, considering that the archipelago’s El Niño weather events have driven coral reefs to near extinction.”
The Galapagos Islands are located about a thousand kilometers from the Ecuadorean continental coast, and due to their rich biodiversity, they are considered a natural laboratory, where the English scientist Charles Darwin developed his theory of the evolution of species.
This archipelago, made up of 13 large islands, 6 smaller islands, and 42 islands, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and is considered one of the best preserved island reserves on the planet.