R.L.S.S. learn art of coral gardening

Robert Louis Stevenson School (R.L.S.S.) Science Club students made the very first step attempt at coral gardening at Taumeasina Island Resort last weekend.

Sometimes called coral farming, gardening involves taking small fragments of coral and growing them.

Students, Jamesa Potoi, Francine Fiaui, Gideon Mulitalo, Bismarck Crawley, Marion Fruean and Augusitino Potoi assisted in process by finding coral fragments and attaching them to cement beds.

Artificial Reefs Samoa (A.R.S.) spokesperson, Fonoti Ferron Fruean, started off by briefing the students on the importance of coral reefs to the ecosystem and biodiversity, but most importantly, why coral should be conserved.

Fonoti said raising heat resilient corals in artificial reefs can be deployed in barren lagoons and reefs because they are expected to better withstand the effects of climate change.  

“For sure, not all of these corals will grow because there is always a chance of coral bleaching due to the rising sea level temperatures, but we will discover the different species of coral out there and see which ones grow better in which parts,” Fonoti said.

He added that the primary reason for the initiative was to show the impact the younger generation can have on the environment and become inspired as future scientists, marine biologists and conservationists.

The students scoured the seafloor for broken pieces of coral collecting them to later be strapped to the cement beds. The cement beds are later laid out on an iron table which will be elevated and hold the coral fragments closer to the sea’s surface where they are able to receive direct sunlight for growth.

Coral reefs grow best in warm (between  21° and 29° C) and clear and shallow water, where sunlight filters through to the algae that helps their growth.

Coral fragments were attached to the cement beds using cable ties and planted in a shallow area near the Taumeasina Island Resort beach.

Fonoti hopes to create a competitive environment in the near future for the coral gardening initiative to encourage students to learn about the coral reefs.


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