15 Aug Indonesia Coral Reef Restoration Task Force Training in Makassar

This month CTC’s conservation science coordinator Dr. Dominic Bryant joined the Mars Sustainable Solutions team (MSS) in Makassar, South Sulawesi to receive training on the Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS) method. CTC has an ongoing partnership with MSS and this training ensured Dominic’s proficiency with the method so he can officially join the Coral Reef Restoration Taskforce, which employs the MARRS method. 

The MARRS method takes advantage of the asexual reproductive strategy of hard corals known as “fragmentation” and “budding”. Fragments of live coral colonies are attached to modular structures called reef stars, which make genetic copies of themselves via the process of “budding” to expand the colony. These installations are also placed over unstable coral rubble habitats that have been created by disturbances such as historical blast fishing. The modular structure of the reef stars makes it possible to stabilize large sections of previously unstable rubble fields and encourage the restoration of the ecosystem back to one dominated by reef-building corals. MSS takes a commercial production model approach when it comes to coral restoration. Dominic was trained in every aspect of the production process by coating the reef stars, collecting and attaching the fragments, and installing the reef stars on their main restoration site, “HOPE reef”. Working with the MSS field team and the local communities from Pulau Bontosua and Barang Cadi Island, Dominic’s training involved the installation of 600 reef stars. Since August 2019 there have been over 330,000 hard coral fragments installed on “HOPE” reef.

“This approach is a good example of how sound science, planning, and the engagement of local communities can successfully scale up coral reef restoration efforts in Indonesia and the world,” Dr Bryant said upon returning from Makassar. “HOPE reef is very special. On parts of reef crest where reef stars were installed in 2019, it is hard to even understand you are diving on a restored coral reef. All the spatial complexity and benthic diversity of a coral reef ecosystem appears to be there” he added.

Prior to the training in Makassar, Dominic had a chance to observe and document CTC’s coral restoration activities taking place on Nusa Penida in Bali. At the site, CTC staff, along with local community partners from Kelompok Nuansa Pulau (KNP), are installing hundreds of reef stars and other restoration structures known as fish domes as part of its coral restoiration efforts under the COREMAP-CTI Project. 

Dr Bryant went on to say “It is positive to see the Coral Reef Restoration efforts like the ones going on at Nusa Penida and Makassar. The local community from KNP clearly takes pride and ownership of their restoration activities and this is a crucial step in achieving more wide spread coral restoration activities throughout the coral triangle, especially in the face of anthropogenic threats and climate change”.

You can learn more about the MARRS method at www.buildingcoral.com and the Coral Restoration Taskforce at https://www.coraltrianglecenter.org/coral-restoration/


Photos: Dominic Bryant

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