Coral reef ecosystems are continuously degraded by anthropogenic and climate change drivers, causing a widespread decline in reef biodiversity and associated goods and services. In response, active restoration methodologies and practices have been developed globally to compensate for losses due to reef degradation. Yet, most activities employ the gardening concept that uses coral nurseries, and are centered in easily-accessible reefs, with existing infrastructure, and impractical for coral reefs in remote locations. Here we evaluate the effectiveness of direct outplanting of coral micro-fragments (Pavona clavus and Pocillopora spp.) as a novel approach to restore remote reefs in the Islas Marías archipelago in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Coral growth (height-width-tissue cover), survival percentage, extension rates (cm year−1), skeletal density (g cm−3) and calcification rates (g cm−2 year−1) were assessed over 13 months of restoration. In spite of detrimental effects of Hurricane Willa, transplants showed a greater-than-twofold increase in all growth metrics, with ~58–61% survival rate and fast self-attachment (within ~3.9 months) for studied species, with Pocilloporids exhibiting higher extension, skeletal density, and calcification rates than Pavona. While comprehensive long-term studies are required, direct transplantation methodologies of coral micro-fragments are emerging as time-effective and affordable restoration tools to mitigate anthropogenic and climate change impacts in remote and marginal reefs.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|State||Published - 2 Sep 2020|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The present work was supported by the NGS-55349R-19 project to A.P.R.T. and the project P/PIFI2010-14MSU0010Z-10 to A.C.M. Acknowledgments: Thanks to the Mexican authorities of Reserva de la Biosfera Islas Mar?as (SEMARNAT/CONANP), Secretar?a de Gobiernaci?n (SEGOB), Secretar?a de Marina (SEMAR) for the permits and facilities. We especially give thanks to the organization Protecci?n y Restauraci?n de Islas y Zonas Naturales (PROZONA AC), La Punta Outdoors SA de CV, and Grupo Cleofas ?Mar?as Cleofas vessel? and their exceptional crew for accommodations and assistance during field expeditions.
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Calcification rates
- Climate change
- Coral growth
- Coral restoration
- Marginal reef
- Mexican Pacific
- Pavona clavus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis