Coral Restoration Research
Ecosystem restoration is a scientific discipline that harnesses the natural forces and interaction of species in order to improve the quality and integrity of the environment . To achieve our restoration goals and to accelerate coral restoration science in Malaysia, we conduct leading-edge research together with our various academic partners.
Coral restoration gathered momentum after the 1998 mass bleaching event that has affected more than a third of the world's coral reefs. Science focused on answering basic questions such as: which species performs best, how fast do various species grow, how does fishing pressure impact restoration success, etc. In Malaysia, however, very few efforts focused on delivering the science that is needed to establish comprehensive restoration protocols for coral reefs within the region.
Since 2019, we are conducting studies on coral restoration success. We first explored the differences in 'restoration performance' of various species in coral tree nurseries (published research article in July 2022 in the journal Restoration Ecology). Once these corals completed their nursery phase, we continued to study their restoration performance as outplants in the natural reefs. We also investigated how nurseries performed overall at various depths, and how coral fragment size impacted the growth and survival. We are monitoring our coral nurseries every 6 months to determine seasonal growth and mortality rates.
In 2022, we continued to study the development of each outplanted coral, and started to investigate the impacts of outplant density clusters (i.e., the number of outplants within a specifically sized area) on micro-habitat formation. We are further exploring how such different density clusters interact with reef fish and invertebrates, to be able to harness ecological interactions for restoration.
Please visit our 'Publications' section to read some of these studies.