Novel coral nursery designed to improve survivorship growth and increase biodiversity.

Juan Luis Sanchez Gonzalez

One of the most characteristic features of coral reef ecosystems is their high biological diversity. This exuberant biological diversity has been linked to the high structural complexity often observed in coral reefs ecosystems. They offer essential habitats for a myriad of reef fish and invertebrates that provide a significant source of protein intakes and economic revenues to many human settlements across the nearshore tropics. Yet, Coral nursery sites in Puerto Rico lack this high biodiversity factor. Even though the standardized tree-like-nursery units have successfully nursed corals from different species, many drawbacks merit to be highlighted such as the use of toxic materials (PVC) and high maintenance costs. We aim to overcome these setbacks by proposing a novel farm design using inexpensive materials such as coral rubble, bamboo trees and fishing lines that will successfully nurse acroporid corals while at the same time, provide suitable habitat for reef-associated organisms to settle. Finally, a comparative analysis will be conducted between our proposed nursery's cost, yield and environmental impact vs. the conventionally accepted tree-like-nursery units.