Mid-water rope nursery-Testing design and performance of a novel reef restoration instrument

Gideon Levy, Lee Shaish, Abraham Haim, Baruch Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fast degradation of coral reefs worldwide has promoted the exploitation of active restoration instruments, one of which is the 'gardening concept'. This concept comprises two phases: (1) establishing in situ coral nurseries for rearing large numbers of coral fragments; (2) their transplantation onto denuded reefs. This study tested the design and performance of a novel mid-water floating nursery instrument, a 'rope nursery'. This nursery accommodated small coral fragments attached to a rope, creating an easily constructed nursery bed that is rapid and inexpensive. Two sets of experiments were conducted: the first tested two mid-water rope nursery prototypes in small-scale trials that tested depth, coral genotypes and construction stability, whereas the second set incorporated lessons learned from the first set, and was designed to carry larger numbers of colonies. These highly economical nurseries (US$ 0.11/fragment) revealed high survivorship low detachment and fast growth rates compared to previous coral-nursery types. Moreover, the coiling force of the ropes adequately held fragments without adhesives, and the minimal surface area of rope nursery beds provided not only improved water flux around farmed corals, but also reduced proliferation of fouling organisms. The rope nursery prototypes studied here attest to the diversity of their potential uses under various conditions and demands, making the construction of large scale nurseries a very feasible target. This restoration instrument was proven to be an effective coral reef rehabilitation tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-569
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is part of the Ph.D. dissertation of G. Levy, which has been supported by grants from the World Bank/GEF and INCO-DEV (REEFRES-510657) projects. We thank Bolinao Marine Laboratory staff and Ed Gomez for their help and hospitality.


  • Coral reef restoration
  • Gardening concept
  • Large scale nursery
  • Reef degradation
  • Rope nursery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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