Coral reefs: amazing!

Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems and some of the most amazing occur in Mozambique. Learn more about this ecosystem that faces huge threats.

Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Unlike sea anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons, which support and protect the coral polyps. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters like the Mozambican ones.

Corals face huge threats nowadays: human pressure and climate changes. Coral transplantation is one option available to managers considering rehabilitation of a degraded reef. Transplantation can be a cost-effective option for small-scale rehabilitation efforts that do not divert funding from other coastal management priorities (e.g., repair of the reef at ship-grounding sites where there is funding available from damage compensation payments). The crucial prerequisite for coral transplantation is that any significant local anthropogenic impacts on the reef are under some form of effective management. Otherwise, there is a high risk that transplanted corals will not survive.

The simple restoration process requires very little training, meaning that moving and reattaching horn coral fragments can be done by recreational divers and could be woven into public educational activities and adopted by volunteer groups.

Coral reef transplantation can be used in countries like Mozambique where oil and gas industries are booming. Biodinâmica undertakes this type of service together it its partners Creocean and the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University Lúrio.

Carlos Litulo

Biodiversity Technician