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You are here » Home » Marine Biology Research Centre

Kanuhura

Marine Biology Research Centre

Our Marine Biology Research Centre at Kanuhura is keen to share with interested guests our knowledge of the processes that lie behind coral reef ecology. We aim to achieve conservation objectives through an ambitious and rigorous research program open to all guests.

Everyone is invited to have fun holidays while learning and actively participating in the amazing journey of oceans’ conservation!

Kanuhura’s Marine Biology Research Center focuses on programs and projects such as:

  • Coral Reef Propagation to improve the biodiversity and abundance of marine life in Kanuhuras’ Lagoon. Come and join in the fun, you may sponsor your own structure and look at how it grows over time through our dedicated website: http://reefscapers.com/kanuhura/. We will send you update pictures every six months.
  • Catalogue documenting as many species as possible from around the resort
  • Sea turtles. We have a networking for identification (ID) of sea turtles: green (Chelonia mydas) and hawskbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata). Leave the photos you take during your dives with us and we will let you know if we have her on file.

We offer to our guest many ways to stay tuned with the marine conservation innovative projects we lead:

  • Every Monday join for a snorkel and picnic at Jenuhura
  • Every Tuesday afternoon join our resident Marine Biologist for a bier talk on coral ecosystems and fish. Then snorkel in the lagoon and visit over 150 coral frames!
  • Every Wednesday morning assist our Marine Biologist for a Dolphin Research & Discovery trip. You will enjoy 30 minutes all about cetaceans, followed by a speed boat trip to get some real data that would help understand better the ecology of these animals.
  • Can’t wait for wednesday? Book a private trip at the marine biology centre for a trip at your convenience.
  • Every Thursday mooring at Kids Club the resident Marine Biologist will talk and play to make you realize how important marine life is!
  • Every Thursday afternoon join our resident Marine Biologist for a brief talk on marine biodiversity, followed by a fun sampling and marine lab practice!
  • Sponsor a frame for our coral propagation program
  • Book a private lagoon snorkelling with our Resident Marine Biologist
  • Participate at the Marine Biology Research Center presentations and talks. Friday’s 7pm to 7:30pm Handavaru Bar Marine Life Slide Show

Marine Biology Research Centre

CORALS… What kind of “living things” are they?

Corals are very small animals, belonging to the Phylum Cninaria, which main characteristic is their radial symmetry. Corals live in colonies. These colonies can conquer few to many meters and eventually they will form a coral reef.

Coral colonies are made of hundreds of polyps, an invertebrate animal, living in symbiosis with a microscopic algae living in its tissues. The polyp is host to the algae, which in return photosynthesizes the food for the polyp. The polyp grows a calcium carbonate skeleton in order to expand the colony and accommodate new polyps. Like this, they have been thriving under the sun in the warm waters all around earth relying solely on their understanding. Under heat stress, the algae dies inside the polyps’ tissues causing the polyps to expel the algae, depriving themselves of their food source. The polyp is in fact transparent, and the algae gives it coloration. After the algae has left, the immaculate whiteness of the skeleton is left as if bleached. The polyps are thereafter getting weaker and may not survive if the water temperature stays high.
In 1998 we witnessed the devastating effect of an usual sea surface temperature increase (El Nino), with 90% of coral mortality down to 15m, and similar events more recently in 2010. However well we control the carbon emissions, the warming forecast due to the inertia of the system alone is alarming. Scientists predict the demise of coral reefs by 2050, which leaves us very little time.

CORAL PROPAGATION

We follow the coral propagation method, whereby fragments of corals are broken off and transplanted to hard substrate to create small but essential coral nursery areas around Kanuhura. Corals are the major building blocks of this ecosystem, yet we know very little about how to manipulate them.

Only a few years back, coral propagation was criticized as ineffective, causing more death than growth, but the success of the Reefscapers, among others, is turning the tables. On the land, we have very much learnt to manipulate trees, select them in order to get them adapted to different environments. It is time we take a similar direction for corals, learn more about their in situ characteristics, select them for their resistance and propagate them efficiently.

Our guests can help us in creating some small coral nursery areas that aim not only to reproduce corals, but to also establish homes for various fish and invertebrates. In the “Hands on Reefscaper” workshop, our resident Marine Biologist teaches the method of coral propagation. This is done with guests in the lagoon beach. We use broken, but still living, coral fragments collected from the seabed and attached to our coral frames. Later on you may sponsor your own frame(s) and you can either choose to do the set up with our resident marine biologist or we can set it up for you. Finally all frames will be deployed in the restoration area. Either way you have the choice to selected a personalized tag and you will receive pictures of your frame every 6 months, as well you can access from our website your frame’s pictures and share it with your family and friends!

You may access direct to Kanuhura’s Reefscapers on-line database, please scan this code:

Marine Biology Research Centre